UnThink Church.. No Wait… That’s Not Right…

I haven’t done any research or reading on the whole “ReThink Church” slogan that the UMC is now pushing. I’m just speaking about the reaction I have had to this campaign.

It’s unfortunate that KFC is also pushing a similar slogan “UnThink Chicken.”
And honestly, between me and you, I believe that KFC will have a more successful campaign.

For one thing, as Shane blogged once, we don’t really know what we’re “selling.” All of the churches are not on the same page. Different churches offer different things. Heck, different churches offer different Jesuses, if you think about it. We have one church that is supporting gay marriage by invoking the name of Jesus. Then you have the other UM church at the other side of the city invoking the name of Jesus to protect the sanctity of marriage.

What I’d like to add to that is, who are we asking to rethink the church?
Because it doesn’t matter if the Average Joe is inspired by this idea of rethinking church when there are so many pastors (and already existing church members) that have been RESISTING change for years and years and years. Is this ReThink campaign for the pastors? Because I think that’s a worthwhile investment, to get pastors to rethink the church. To think outside of the “we’ve done it this way” box or the “parishioners will get mad at me for doing this” box. Because, I strongly, strongly believe “attitude reflects leadership, sir.”

Here’s the reaction that I first had when someone told me about the rethink church:
I feel like this is targeted to the people who don’t go to church or at least a UMC.
So in a sense, it feels like we are trying to change the church from the outside in.
I strongly believe money, time and effort will be better spent to try changing the UMC from the inside out. I’m almost inclined to the think the Unthink Church might reach it’s goal more than Rethink Church, only because many have been unthinking the church for years…

I don’t know. Maybe I’m completely off. Maybe I’m being too critical (or too honest.)
But hey, at least with UnThink Chicken, I know what I’m getting…

6 thoughts on “UnThink Church.. No Wait… That’s Not Right…

  1. Unfortunately, you are probably right. It is one thing to remake perceptions of a product through a new advertising campaign. It is completely different to remake the product itself because of a new advertising campaign.

    We should be focusing on the basics such as helping each church become a Welcoming Congregation and empowering people to work the FRAN Plan. Those will bring more people in than advertising that equates church with the United Way.

  2. Joseph, you have hit this nail squarely. What exactly are we “rethinking?” Looking at the website, we are rethinking our church as a social service agency. Get ’em in as volunteers, then we’ll figure out what to do with ’em. I find this less than compelling. If by “rethink” we mean rethinking the whole way we do things, taking our clergy from club members to servant leaders (sorry, local bitterness), revitalizing our worship, reaching the lost and least, truly rethinking the way we live out Christ’s mission and message. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what the higher-ups have in mind. We’ve got the message, and we’ve got the program. Why in the h**l can’t we seem to get them together and going the same direction? Snappy ad campaigns won’t get us there. Mmmm…tastes like chicken!

  3. Marc, you’re right. Snappy ad campaigns don’t replace rethinking the way we live out’s Christ mission…but they can REMIND us of our responsibility to live out Christ’s call.

    Yeah, you can’t find two UM churches that think the same way – but I don’t think that’s a big problem, as long as the people in each of those churches is intentionally working their way towards Christ…and that’s not something we can mandate.

    It’s unfair to expect “ReThink Church” (or any campaign) to solve our problems. Instead, we should use it as a reminder that church ISN’T a club and that we constantly need to be to evaluate our own work at being disciples. “ReThink Church” may have been designed to attract non-UMs, but isn’t continually thinking – and rethinking – the purpose of church something we should ALL be doing?

    BTW – the FRAN plan is an old GBOD evangelism program. (http://ow.ly/9wcV) Nothing wrong with it. One approach out of many

  4. I agree with you, Steve, that we can’t (and shouldn’t) expect any campaigns to solve our problem. Especially, when I believe there’s a lot of in-house problems.
    Which is why I wish we use whatever money we used for this campaign (i heard one say 20 mil… though that sounds way too high…) and iono, find ways to address some flaws within the system…

    And I strongly believe that ReJesus the church is something we should be thinking more about that rethinking the church…

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