According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, the church spends $1,551,466 for each new follower of Jesus. With that kind of statistic it would seem that the church's outreach efforts aren't the most effective. What is the church doing wrong, and what would be a better way to share our faith?
In Branded, Christian radio personality Tim Sinclair explores the ways in which the church has been essentially "mass-marketing" Jesus in the last few decades and how in many cases, it has failed to excite newcomers to the church and faith. Using examples of successful businesses, Sinclair looks at the consumer culture of today and posits that if we were to stop turning Jesus into a brand and instead market our faith relationally, person to person, honestly and authentically, that we would be more successful in our outreach efforts.
Branded is a fantastic book. What I enjoyed most about the book was how well-researched it is, how Sinclair really understands his audience and today's culture and link them together with the church, a link that is often missing. Sinclair is the perfect person to write this book, as a marketer he has helped to brand many companies.
This book isn't a call to "brand" Jesus, rather it points out that many of our outreach efforts have already done this, but in a manner that isn't working. If we are going to market Jesus, then Sinclair says we need to do it in a different manner.
Sinclair includes a chapter in the book with ways to re-market Jesus. A word of warning, this chapter will be convicting and for many it may feel like an attack on their church's current practices. However, that is not the intent of the chapter and Sinclair doesn't expect every church to follow all of his suggestions. Rather, he is challenging you to take a look at what you and your church are currently doing, decide if it has been effective and decide if maybe there is a better way for you. The inclusion of discussion questions make this book a great resources for churches and small groups.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is well-written, clear and concise. It doesn't hit you over the head with statistics or boring business principles. It presents a great message that gets right to the point. I think this is a book that all churches should, not because I think that all churches are failing at outreach, but because I think it will challenge churches to look at their methods and in the end become more effective at sharing Jesus with others.