categories: church, marketing
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May 7th, 2007

by Bobby Gruenewald

8 comments (+ Add)

Church for the well behaved

Jeff pointed out to me today’s post by Seth Godin titled “More perfect”.

His post is about what types of customers companies are having success targeting. At the very end of the post he says:

You’ll also sell a lot more management consulting to well run companies, high end stereos to people with good stereos and yes, church services to the already well behaved.

Is that true? I suppose the definition of success is at issue. Will services targeted at the “well behaved” be more financially “successful”? Will they be more effective at getting people to make life changing decisions?

It certainly isn’t consistent with the results we are seeing….how about you?

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  1. May 7, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    You are wholly correct in saying the definition of success is at the heart of this one. The statement you quoted is mostly true, but not fully. As believers we are meant to be much more giving than we are. Church is too often about our comfort. When the Gospel is put an aggressive way, most Christ-followers respond. This is where the two meet. The well-behaved (churched) are excited about changed lives (real success). I have heard Craig mention purposefully giving above the tithe and always mentions new campus devolpment and people do not question being asked to give more; they love the fact that people are worshipping with them in Florida, N.Y., Arizona and Texas.

    Essentially, being safe is financially irresponsible.

  2. 2JohnnyR
    May 7, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    His post caused me to pause as well. I’m in the process of organizing a LC Network church ( and so much desire to reach those far from God. For me his statement drives home the importance of being intentional, focused and diligent in reaching those far from God. I’m glad to hear your comments. What I saw at the “Together We Can” weekend was life-change and a church focused and on mission. I want some of that. Let someone else sell cookbooks.

  3. May 7, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    I imagine that you are more disciplined in the likes of highly engaged and memorable sales and marketing. That is not to mention the service after the sale.

    All that said not really knowing you and or what you do but merely on your question “how about you?”

    On an aside, I like your blog. M

  4. May 7, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    I read that too, and I would have to disagree with Seth’s comments.

    Jesus came to heal the sick, the healthy don’t need a doctor.

  5. 5Terry G
    May 8, 2007 at 12:25 am


    Unless I’m completely off the mark, I don’t believe that targeting the “well behaved” will be more financially successful, either for the church or the “well behaved”. For those who perceive themselves as “well behaved” they won’t feel the need for change of any kind. For instance, if I perceive myself as a “good driver” why would I even consider taking a Driver’s Safety Course? However, if someone reminded me that I’d wrecked 2 cars in the last 6 months and had several near misses…I’d definitely take the course into consideration.

    Sign me, Not well behaved, but thankful for God’s grace, love and mercy and for pastors and friends who remind me.

  6. May 8, 2007 at 11:23 am

    hey bobby, i saw this when it was posted and i fired it off to my pastor right away. i thought it was very interesting. the church is going against the grain of what marketing says to do. marketing says to focus on your customers, treat them better, you will dilute the farther you try to spread. jesus changes all that and takes it the other way. i’m all about seth, but his marketing mind doesn’t work in the church arena, at least not in this case. does that make sense

  7. May 8, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I think it is the word “services” that is being overlooked here. I don’t fully agree with Seth’s post but the trend concerning church resources that he points out…is valid.

    If I don’t care about a home theater system and my brother has a nice one, which one of is more likely to purchase a really nice home theater system? Obviously my brother.

    I think this does, in some way, apply to the services a church offers, which I believe is even somewhat Scriptural regarding “milk” and “meat.”

    Who is more likely to embark on an in-depth Bible study into the book of Isaiah if offered by a church? Is it someone who has never read their Bible and rarely attends church or will it be an individual who regularly reads their Bible and is hungry to go a little deeper?

    Or in other words, will it be the one who is not yet ready for “meatier” nourishment or the one who has moved past “milk?”

    In terms of marketing, I have to say that this mindset is a bit off to me, especially if we try to quantify spiritual growth in terms of numerical success rates, as others have stated. But in terms of church services, which is what his original statement seems to imply, I think it does have some validity.