i have seen a lot of churches, youth rallies and religious events spend a lot of time, effort and money on marketing. they use flashy graphics and catchy subtitles to grab our attention. in fact i have seen so much of this that i too feel the pressure to be trendy when i advertise events i plan or invite people to be a part of our youth group. i can't just call the event 'youth group Bible study,' i have to call it 'the edge' or 'superfantastical scripture search' or 'Jesus jam.' otherwise, it's just a boring old Bible study where we will learn more about the story we claim to believe in and follow and claim as our own, and that has no draw.
the problem is that Jesus is not marketable. he is not cute like the jonas brothers (and thankfully does not wear skinny jeans like them either). he does not spew out one liners to laugh about with your friends like will ferrell. he is not over the top like lady gaga. knowing Him does not give you prestige or special back stage passes. in fact, He is quite the opposite. listening to His teaching will bring conviction, not entertainment. knowing Jesus and truly following Him almost guarantees you will experience ridicule, persecution and trials. try to market a deodorant with this tagline... fights odor, leaving you smelling fresh under the pressure of the impending beatings and mockery you will endure for using our product. i'd give you about 2 weeks until you went under. i think in a way, the church understands that, and has adapted our Savior's image in order to be more attractive. we are not, in most cases, marketing the true Jesus we read of in Scripture.
that is the church, but i resonate with this point on a personal level, too. i struggle because i want people to follow Christ, but it is difficult. i am not writing to say 'i have this down, why can't the rest of you get it together?' i write this because giving up everything and following Christ is difficult and at times i don't want to do it. i have moments where i feel more like the rich young ruler, unable or unwilling to lay down my treasure and abandon my comfort in order to embrace His life. sometimes it would be easier to market Jesus as the key to health and wealth, but it would not be honest. Scripture reminds us that it is not a superstar we are called to follow and emulate, but rather a suffering Savior. so i will ask the ultimate question- is the version of Jesus being promoted by your church (and more importantly your life) the Jesus of Scripture? i pray that our answer, if it is not already, can someday be a resounding yes.