Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Prayer Ads

Quite a while ago I went to a church because I saw it's ad in the newspaper and I happened to be looking for a church. When I told someone there I came because of the ad, he was astonished. Nobody had every come before because of the ad. While I'm sure some people do pick a church from an ad, I doubt that very many do. While this might suggest that churches simply should not run newspaper ads, I think before they stop they ought to give it another try - but do it differently, with a bit more creativity, and a bit more committment behind it.

What if a church ran an ad something like this:

It is nothing but an offer to pray. Readers don't have to come to the church or do anything except let the church know what they would like prayed for. For that reason alone I think an ad like this might be attractive. But also, I think all the white space in the ad - in addition to being practical - would grab the eye. Finally, this ad requires a reliable prayer team at the church that will take the requests seriously. Otherwise it would just be a bad joke.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Missing Art

The pastor of my church believes in the arts. Painting, sculpture, film, music, literature, drama, and so forth. They can all be used to glorify God. And I certainly agree that they can, and I welcome the church's renewed interest in the arts.

But of all the arts that the church promotes, the really obvious one seems to have eluded it (or maybe I've just missed it). This is an art form that has been associated with the church for not just years or decades, but probably for well over a thousand years.

Stained glass.

The great churches I've visited in Europe are filled with stained glass. Many traditional American churches also use stained glass.

It seems to me that the association of church with stained glass gives the church in the West a platform.

Why shouldn't churches sponsor stained glass art festivals? A stained glass festival could feature local stained-glass artists, speakers, demonstrations of stained-glass technique, history of stained glass (which would present plenty of opportunities to discuss Christianity), tours of the sponsoring church's stained glass windows (which probably feature biblical themes and could be used as a bridge to explain the gospel). Plus, the whole event would lend itself to local press coverage and raise the church's profile in the community.

I doubt any of this is world-changing, but for some people it could be life changing.

[Update: Dr. William N. Brown sent me a great link to an article on his Web site about a friend who does some amazing stained glass work in China]

Sunday, April 04, 2004

No Problem with Bunnies, But...

It's getting near Easter, and bunnies are rampant, so I thought I'd share a non-bunny article I wrote years ago. You know how Christmas has a lot of Christian symbols? So why not Easter? Why is it just bunnies and eggs? So here's my Better Easter Tradition.