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Gingersnap
06-02-2009, 11:24 AM
Protestant sects use ads to lure members
Denominations are branding their beliefs

By Rose French| Tuesday, June 2, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn.

Shrinking mainline Protestant denominations are turning to marketing to help stem decades of membership losses and stay afloat.

The United Methodist Church recently released a $20 million rebranding effort aimed at attracting younger members to the large but diminishing Protestant sect. The new ads will appear over the next four years as part of the denomination's "Rethink Church" campaign.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has invested nearly $1.2 million in the past two years launching a similar branding effort based on the theme "God's Work, Our Hands."

The denominations are trying to bounce back from losses that began in the mid-1960s.

(snip)

Mr. Mathewes said the ads "might draw in some people, but at the same time, it's unlikely to accomplish what they want."

"The problem with branding is it's not exactly the kind of evangelism you want to do," he said.

Laura Olson, a Clemson University professor who specializes in religion, said the rebranding efforts likely have their best chance to succeed with young adults who grew up in mainline churches but who now consider themselves more generally spiritual.

But it's not clear how long the denominations can hold onto the young people after they re-enter the church.

"Mainline Protestantism can offer to people who are skeptical of tradition ... something more progressive," Ms. Olson said. "By and large, mainline Protestantism is progressive politically and theologically. They have really strong, powerful roots in social justice issues. That's their strongest card they have to play.

"It's got that going for it, but its worship style has always been pretty conventional. People who grew up in mainline Protestantism, who maybe aren't aware of the progressivism there, may be turned off by the worship style."

LOL! Mainline churches do their "conventional" service at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday if they do one at all. The main services are part pop psych and part bad theatrics with some short bus musicians throw in for kicks. That's an intensely "progressive" style and one that unites the UU, TEC, ELCA, and many others. Others that are losing members.

People who are looking for "spiritual" values don't really expect to find them through liturgical dance or puppet sermons. Serious seekers know that much is asked from those to whom much is given and that "doing church" isn't really about entertainment, pop culture, or personal fulfillment.

Tying a church 'brand" to some kind of community volunteerism seems like a failing strategy to me. If you wanted to read secular books to kids, you'd do that and skip whatever personal standards a church would ask of you. I like kosher food but not enough to convert to Judaism.

megimoo
06-02-2009, 11:36 AM
LOL! Mainline churches do their "conventional" service at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday if they do one at all. The main services are part pop psych and part bad theatrics with some short bus musicians throw in for kicks. That's an intensely "progressive" style and one that unites the UU, TEC, ELCA, and many others. Others that are losing members.

People who are looking for "spiritual" values don't really expect to find them through liturgical dance or puppet sermons. Serious seekers know that much is asked from those to whom much is given and that "doing church" isn't really about entertainment, pop culture, or personal fulfillment.

Tying a church 'brand" to some kind of community volunteerism seems like a failing strategy to me. If you wanted to read secular books to kids, you'd do that and skip whatever personal standards a church would ask of you. I like kosher food but not enough to convert to Judaism.
For an example .A quote from their site :
Unitarian Universalism is a caring, open-minded religion that encourages you to seek your own spiritual path.Sounds like a really 'big tent' as in dial your own favorite 'hangup' and justify it !