Marketing 101: Repackaging the Church?

Being a marketing major, I consume a daily variety of news on both traditional media as well as the blogosphere to keep myself abreast with the latest trends.

While clicking through websites one morning, an article from USA Today caught my attention.

To summarize the article: “The $1 billion baby carrot world—hit by the recession after years of growth—is taking on the $18 billion salty snack food industry by trying to beat it at its own hip marketing game” (USA Today). This brings on a whole new meaning to healthy competition (bad joke, I know).

In a nutshell, fifty baby carrot cultivators have joined forces to rebrand their image among the public. Hoping to make baby carrots “groovy”, the new $25 million marketing campaign is targeting lunch boxes.

In their attempts to remain relevant, baby carrots will be available in “cool” school vending machines along side their competition. Three packaging designs have been produced and take on a Doritoesque 1 form.

However, the core product itself did not undergo any change.

In line with the baby carrot industry repackaging campaign, a question came to mind: Does the church need to change to remain culturally relevant?

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not at all suggesting that the gospel of Christ is irrelevant to the culture. The Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). But what I am saying is that the church’s approach of reaching the new generation with the gospel could be rather unattractive. All the same, we must remember that the core-product, the Word of God, must never be changed.

Take for example a pastor who preaches to his English-speaking congregation in Chinese. The congregation would be frustrated because they couldn’t understand the message. Speaking Chinese to English-only participants would be culturally irrelevant.

Sometimes that’s how we Christians come off to this generation. It’s as if we are speaking a foreign language.

Not knowing the answers myself, let’s start a dialogue. How can we remain relevant in order to reach a culture that so desperately needs Jesus without compromising God’s instructions given in the Bible?

1The brand name of a popular tortilla chips in America.