Advertising One Service By Insulting Another

I’m always amazed when I visit a church in person or check out a church’s website and see that they advertise certain services by insulting other ones. Maybe a church is starting an evening service and trying to market it. Or maybe across campus in the gym the church offers a contemporary service and they need to advertise it. Sometimes in a quest to describe what one service is like, they end up insulting another service at the same church.

These aren’t exact quotes – but I think you’ll be able to think of some churches (maybe your own) who use similar phrasing:

Come to the 7:00pm Sunday evening service and experience relevant preaching and Spirit-led worship.

Does this mean the 10:30am service’s preaching isn’t relevant and the worship isn’t Spirit-led?

Sunday mornings at 10:00am in the Fellowship Hall: a place to encounter God without all the formality.

In other words: you can’t encounter God in the Sanctuary where it’s more formal.

Our Saturday service features a message you can relate to and music the kids will enjoy.

So I can’t relate to the message on Sunday mornings and the music is terrible?

You get the point. In our quest to describe services in our church’s brochures and write pithy little blurbs on the website we often run the risk of, intentionally or unintentionally, insulting other services at our church. We imply that they aren’t as good, you might want to try this other one instead, and the people who go to those services are missing out.

One obvious way to display that “…in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13) is to go out of our way to honor one another. It’s dishonoring to insult other services, worship styles, liturgies, or approaches to corporate worship. And it’s really tacky to put those insults in writing for the whole world to see. Listing the time, place, and general flavor of the service is enough. Be careful not to add in commentary while you’re at it.

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