In the cluttered and competitive world of media, the need to be unique and noticed sometimes takes a strange turn. In my book “Branding Faith” (Now updated to “Unique“) I talk about branding and identity as something that comes out of your nature. Your brand story is the essence of who you are. It’s not something you make up or add on, it’s the compelling story about the real you. But as I watch a new generation of younger pastors and religious TV personalities, I’m noticing such a desperation to get noticed, that they’re often coming up with some really ridiculous things.
Recently, I was watching a pastor being interviewed on a major Christian TV network, and he described his “new revelation” about “atmosphere.” (By the way – whenever someone has a “new revelation” watch out – something weird is about to happen.) This pastor was all about “atmosphere.” He said that God had revealed to him that He wouldn’t move unless the right atmosphere was present, so this pastor had begun a new ministry to help people create the right atmosphere so the Holy Spirit could work.
The thought occurred to me that God has worked on battlefields, prisons, drug dens, and lonely city streets. Miracles have happened in burning buildings, sinking ships, and the chaos of war. So I doubt the atmosphere has that much to do with it.
My point is that this guy feels so desperate to get noticed, that he really thinks he’s got to come up with something new and big to get people’s attention. When the truth is, getting noticed isn’t about making something up, it’s about finding out who you really are.
I watch Christian TV these days and hear about money, business principles, positive thinking, motivation, and of course, “atmosphere.” Or someone will take an obscure scripture out of context and base an entire ministry on what it’s supposed to reveal.
The truth is, I actually miss people preaching the simple but profound message of the Bible. When they start veering into the wacky, it’s usually more about marketing, than ministry.