softdrinksWe so easily buy into the lie presented to us by television commercials. This soft drink will make you happier. Driving that red sports car will make you popular, etc.

Truth or lies? The products keep on selling, and those clever creatives employed by cunning advertising agencies continue to lure you in. What can we learn from these million dollar campaigns?

If we look at a typical car commercial, rarely will you learn about details such as engine specifications, or the type of gear box, or breaking mechanism the car has. The message is always about lifestyle – it’s never true, and we don’t hold the advertiser accountable for their deceptive ways. I’ve never heard of anyone taking their new car back when it didn’t make them more popular with the other sex, or when it failed to transform into a robot! Yet these are the images that capture our attention.

Successful advertising campaigns are designed to build lifestyle and personality.

When asked, “have you considered Christianity?” A typical response today would be “no, because it is not …” and the response would be based on an observation about the church as opposed to the person, Jesus. Or the ‘why’. Whether true or untrue, the common response is that that the church is out of date and irrelevant today. I’m not going to defend whether church has kept up with the latest trends, become modern, no longer boring or whether it remains relevant. The point I’m raising here is that these comments are based on ‘what-type’ observations as opposed to ‘why’.

So what do I suggest we do about it? Perhaps the church needs a new PR campaign? We already have the lifestyle message. Evangelism needs to be centred on the person of Jesus. He is our ‘why’. Focus on why God came in the person of His son, what the significance of His death and resurrection was, and how we can have live in a relationship with Him today. I don’t think most people are turning down Jesus when they reject the church, they’re rejecting the institution.

Church should be repositioned. Church v2.0 should have a lifestyle campaign focussing on the ‘why’, not the ‘what’. Why do people attend a church and what do people who follow Jesus believe?

Of course, analogies break down eventually.  The burger never looks that good when it’s unwrapped, the fizzy drink gives you wind and the car eventually gets a flat, breaks down or just looks uncool. Comparing soft drinks and car commercials with the church and a relationship with Jesus falls apart pretty quickly. Following Jesus is a life decision, not just a lifestyle decision.