Welcome to Prophetic Thursday here at the blog. Every Thursday I will peer down the pike and try to give you a heads up on what to expect within Christianity in the near and not so near future. To see the previous posts in this series, click HERE and HERE.
The economy is bad and huge numbers of people remain unemployed along with many others who are considered under-employed; including members of churches. This is impacting the offerings of churches everywhere. Many churches have made the decisions to cut staff, lower giving to missions, and drop programs that once touched countless numbers of lives. These decisions are difficult and are hopefully made only after a great deal of prayer.
Pastors and church leaders don’t want to make these types of cuts, but they are often left with no choice. If only they had others sources of income other than ever-shrinking offerings. Surely some of the mega-church leaders are thinking about this. Surely some of them are eventually going to come up with a creative solution to this problem.
Something like: in-sermon commercials.
The sermons of some pastors are streamed live onto computers the world over. Others are shown live on television or videotaped and shown later. Some churches have congregations larger than the populations of small towns. Everyone listening is a consumer of goods and services. It is only a matter a time before mega-church pastors start getting sponsored by various companies to promote products that match their personality or the personalities of their congregations.
Will this really happen? Maybe. And if it does here are a few possiblities:
1. Mark Driscoll for MMA pay-per-view events. Mark says that men are made to fight and there is nothing more masculine than putting two dudes together in a cage to see who is better. “Jesus says to turn the other cheek…but if you want to see cheeks being pulverized next weekend call your local cable company. Tell them that Mark “Dream Crusher” Driscoll sent ya.”
2. Steven Furtick for Red Bull. If Furtick wasn’t a pastor, he would probably be the most annoying personal trainer ever. “HOWWASIABLETOPREACHFOR24HOURSSTRAIGHT?REDBULLGAVEMEWINGS,BABY!WOOOOOO!”
3. Charles Stanley for Miracle Ear. I’m not sure how old Rev. Stanley is, but it looks like the members of his congregation are even older. “Listen…now listen…seriously, listen….and if you’re having trouble listening try Miracle Ear.”
4. T.D. Jakes for Speed Stick. Jakes sweats more during one sermon than I have in my entire life. “Well, Praise God. I may be sweatin’ worse than Richard Simmons, but my armpits are nice and dry…thanks to Speed Stick antiperspirant!”
5. John Piper for American Speed Reading Corporation. “Hi, I’m John Piper and I write a book every 45 minutes. If you’re one of my many fans, you may be wondering how will you ever be able to keep up. Let me suggest getting help from the American Speed Reading Corporation. My writing is most glorified in you when you are most engorged with it. Don’t waste your life….read faster.”
6. Joel Osteen for Reader’s Digest. I’ve heard Osteen called a skyscraper preacher because of the way he stacks one story on top of another. “…and if you liked that story, may I suggest getting a subscription to Reader’s Digest. My Daddy loved it.”
7. Rick Warren for Remington Beard and Mustache Trimmers. It has been reported that Warren came out of the womb with a mustache and goatee. That’s not true, but I’ve never seen a picture of him clean shaven. “There may not be a real purpose for my facial hair, but I like it anyway. And Remington is the trimmer brand that I trust most.”
I hope that this never happens. I hope that those who are charged with proclaiming the Gospel never stoop to using their platform in this manner. But if/when it does, remember that you heard it here first.
(Are there other possibilities that I didn’t include in this list? Help me out and share them!)
***Disclaimer: This is meant as satire and should not be viewed in any way as an assault on the character and ministry of those mentioned. Also, I wish my hair was as cool as at least half of these men****