You've certainly seen the advertisement before; that which features a certain item, priced ridiculously low. In fact, it's priced so low that you ask, "How can they sell it at that price and turn a profit?" Well, they can't. It's a loss leader, designed solely to entice people into the sales establishment upon which, it is hoped, they will purchase additional items, thereby resulting in an overall profit to the store.
The point to be taken here is that the loss leader tactic is simply a part of an overall marketing strategy - a philosophy, if you will, which fits squarely within the economic system of capitalism, to which growth and profit are generally accepted as the primary goals.
I wonder, how wedded to capitalism is the evangelical church in America?
Recently, there was a concert staged, at our church, specifically designed as an outreach to the youth in the community surrounding the church. Whereas there is typically 25 youth at a Wednesday night meeting, there were 120 youth in attendance at this concert.
Was this a loss leader? A means of enticing people in the doors, and then banking on the "numbers", the probability that a certain percentage of them would desire to come back?
Such a tactic is hardly limited to a youth concert in 2009. I've grown up in the church and can look back and see the tactic deftly applied throughout my life. It is, in fact, our modus operandi.
Yet, despite the church adopting capitalistic strategies, and despite the false success of mega-churches, we now see an America which is turning its back on Christianity. Our society is becoming decidedly secular and, in particular, anti-Christian, in its base form.
While we may have succeeded in entertaining the masses, how much of the Gospel has truly been delivered? In a recent Bible Study, my pastor made note of the fact that many scholars think that the church in Corinth, that which Paul was writing to, was made up of about 40 people.
If an evangelical capitalist had written the letters to the Corinthians, I daresay he would have given them a detailed explanation of marketing tactics designed specifically to result in church growth. Yet Paul makes no mention of church growth methodologies. He simply tells the Corinthians how to live as Christians.
What a concept.