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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Ben W, Nov 29, 2005.
Very interesting article in this months Readers Digest on "Selling Faith"
Quote from the article: "This practice has become so prevalent, and I believe these vendors are appealing to the general public's inner search for Hope and Inspiration--something tangible to cling to, because selling faith merchandise is a "profit-making" enterprise. Sometimes the sale of such products is offensive when you see the personal image projected by the vendor."
So she/he is not so much offended by what they're doing, but more by the fact that they make a profit from the merchandise. But I'll bet he/she never backed away from a paycheck for the work he does. Profit is not wrong. The really sad thing about this person's attitude is tha fact that they are offended by the way the other people look. And we wonder why the world thinks that the church is irrelevant.
A recent barna poll came to the conclusion that American Christianity is a mile wide an inch deep.
Short Answer - YES
So much so that even non-Christian companies are getting into the act. Check out "foxfaith.com," for instance. They have an accompanying bible study for just about every PG and below movie they've put out lately.
The bible studies are designed for you to bring publicity to their movie, so they can sell more.
Wal-Mart mass markets some of the most popular Christian books and items, making it even harder on local Christian bookstores, because they're not able to sell so cheaply...etc, etc, etc.
And why should the marketing not be good - even for Christian products? They know they can feed our appetite for entertainment and make a fortune doing it.
Christian book stores are outrageously over priced and as far as I am concerned rip off the christian public. There is nothing wrong with targeting christians as long as the merchandise stays with in Gods boundries.
We were discussing this just this weekend.
My children's Dad attended a meeting for fathers that was billed as helping Christian fathers develop better communication skills with their families. The "end" of the meeting was a $100 "kit". Somehow charging $100 for something you claim is for Christ seems wrong.
If it had asked for cost-defering donations it would have been different.
TS, that's annoying, too. Just about every Christian conference you go to is a hook to get you to buy what we now call "resources."
fatbacker, with the limited experience I have in Christian retailing, I can tell you this: it's not the bookstore that overcharging...it's their suppliers.
But when a company like Wal-Mart comes in and says we want 15 "bazillion" copies, they get it at deep discount, and are consequently able to sell it much cheaper. I give as an example: Cloud-10 Entertainment, who put out the "Left Behind" movie, sold to Christian Bookstores at a price where they had to sell for $25+ just to break even, while at the same time selling to Wal-Mart...and they sold the movie for $18 or so - and made a huge profit doing so.
(I remember how frustrated my wife was - who worked at a Christian bookstore when this happened. None of the store owners saw this coming - the mass sale to Wal-Mart - and many of them took a loss on a product that would have sold otherwise. A year later, they were practically giving the movies away, and took a huge loss.)
Even the Christian suppliers go where the money is. Do you blame them, in our materialistic society?
One of the only differences I see between Christian bookstores and borders etc is the prices. Granted, Christian bookstores usually have a larger variety of Bibles, but the stores look similar, the merchandise looks similar, and often the discernment of what books to sell is similar.
Having worked in a Christian bookstore that was put out of business by a Walmart across the highway, a Target two exits down, and a bad local economy at the time, I can say that the comments about "how much they (Christians) charge" and "How much cheaper they could get it at Wal-Mart" are asinine.
I worked the music/video/children departments at my bookstore. We had a great track record of customer service and satisfaction... but then people would come in and say "I can get this Bible cover at Sam's for 1/2 the price." Sorry, Sam's bought 300 of that Bible cover... we bought 3. What about that Christian CD that came out a year ago? I'll order it for you and have it here in a week... Wal-Mart won't do that.
Until the "Christian market" (understand that I've always hated that term) wakes up and starts shopping where they can make a difference, Wal-Mart and Target and Sam's will continue to grow while independent Christian stores continue to desintegrate. Don't complain about the prices. I guarantee that those bookstores aren't rolling in your dough.
In His Grip,
I do not fault Christian Bookstores. They sell their products for a fair price.
When I think of marketing that has gone to far it is when they bill things as church activities and clearly make a profit off of those activities.
The retreats that charge members of the congregation the same rates the local secular hotels charge. (I'm old enough to remember when retreats were basically free to church members).
The church lunches that have a flat fee. The "bible studies" that the entire church is doing that require you to buy some book like "Purpose Driven Life." The only book you should be REQUIRED to have in church is the bible.
Marketing is beholden to Christian consumers. It is we who determine how far Christian marketing is alowed to go. The marketers respond to us, not the other way around.
One of the problems with us Christian consumers is that we're hypocritical and fickle. We complain when our consumer needs aren't being met, and then complain when they are.
Whose fault is that? Sometime try holding each member of a chruch accountable to disciple others and see the rebellion. Start with the deacons first and see how long you last as a pastor.