I made new friends within the first few weeks of our Giant Church Inc fitness small group. We met on Saturdays to train for an obstacle race we planned to run.
We finished one of our first workouts and exchanged the photos taken to mark the occasion. A photo of two women helping another do pull ups. A few of us sweating through the round of burpees. Another photo of a trio encouraging one who struggled to complete the exercises. Then the large group photo of all of us who showed up on a sweltering Saturday morning to enjoy the camaraderie of working out together.
Those photos ended up in our personal feeds, tagged and hashtagged appropriately for friends, family, and Giant Church Inc to see. We tagged Giant Church Inc, its leaders, and those closest to the inner circle, hoping to receive acknowledgment and praise. With the right hashtags and enough likes, our post had a chance to be featured on the big screen in the main service at Giant Church Inc.
The following day our group photo was one of several flashed in front of the entire congregation. There we were, sweaty and all smiles, for everyone to see and to envy.
From stage, the pastors praised us for our hard work and hashtags, and encouraged others to post their own #giantchurchinc post so they might be on the big screen in upcoming weeks.
Branding Giant Church Inc
This is what branding and social media strategies look like in the world of consumerism and Giant Church Inc. Companies dedicated to helping churches brand their mission of sharing the good news tout the solution for reaching more people. An article written for a digital giving solutions company says it this way:
A poor understanding of branding hinders the work of your church. If people are unclear about who you are and what you do, they won’t engage. And a lack of engagement prevents your church from reaching more people and bringing them to Jesus.Wes Gay, Copywriter at Pushpay
Giant Church Inc bought into the idea that unless we have the right brand and market it the right way, we won’t reach people for Jesus.
So Giant Church Inc has creative and communications teams to help get their name, the brand, the pastors’ names, and the right hashtags out on social media to draw more followers. Staff, lay leaders, members, and attendees at Giant Church Inc obey the call to promote the brand. It looks like this:
- Tag Giant Church Inc to let them know you’re watching online.
- Use this hashtag to let them see your good deeds and connect the deeds to Giant Church Inc.
- Quote the pastor and be sure to tag him.
- Promote the upcoming events to let them know you support the vision of Giant Church Inc.
- Signal to the church leaders you’re doing what they asked you to do: workout, pay off debt, purge your closets, be extra generous, get a second job for extra income, take their marriage and/or parenting advice, etc.
- Post anything good and acceptable about Giant Church Inc to get the brand out there.
- The more influence you have, the better. The more you post, even better.
Love, Not Hashtags
Is this what we’re supposed to be doing, Church? Do we glorify God or exalt ourselves? Are we bringing people to Jesus or to Giant Church Inc?
Brands don’t show the world we love Jesus. Neither do hashtags, Facebook posts, YouTube channels, or Instagram feeds. The celebrity culture Giant Church tries to create may draw people to a cool place to drink coffee, sing songs, and hear a story about Jesus, but it doesn’t draw people to Jesus. Love does that.
We are ambassadors of Jesus, commanded to love like he did. Our trademark is love.
Josh Moody in an article for Christianity Today wrote, “To manage to promote Jesus without promoting ourselves requires wisdom. But more than that, it requires character. And character is formed by teaching. And the teaching comes from the Bible, the church, and the life of prayer in the school of Christ. Suffering. In other words, the larger and faster we promote Jesus, the deeper and greater must be our humility. If not, God help us.”
If not, God help us.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.