Friday, May 30, 2008

"Keeping It Real"

From "Leadership Journal" online:

James Gilmore is co-author (with Joseph Pine II) of "Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want" (Harvard Business School Press, 2007). Gilmore is a Christian who views himself as "solidly reformed" and has spoken at a number of ministry conferences. In his first Leadership interview in 2001, Gilmore took our editors on a tour of Starbucks, ESPN Zone, and American Girl to demonstrate "the experience economy." Now Gilmore says beyond the created "experience," people are looking for authenticity. Here, in his own words, he tells us what that has to do–or not do–with the church.

Here are some excerpts:

As a business guy, I'm always cautious about taking any business thinking and applying it to the church. Don't take this stuff about the experience economy and make worship a staged experience. Consumerism has come to dominate contemporary evangelicalism. We're becoming a reflection of the world, instead of standing apart from the world. The church has moved to "spectacalism," which can become a false gospel.

All of life is being commodified. The church should be the one place that stands apart and says, We have nothing for sale. We only offer a free gift. The church ought to be the place where people see that there's something different about this place and this people from anything one experiences elsewhere in the commercial marketplace.

To me, the church should not aim to be "real" as an end. The church is there to proclaim truth. Trying to be hip and cool and real does a disservice to the church. We're not called to be successful. We're called to be obedient, even if they don't come. Ministry leaders should think more like Noah, of being part of a remnant that is faithful. If somebody doesn't find you objectionable, I wonder if you're preaching the full counsel of God.

For more, go here.

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