David Gibson’s recent Religion News Service article listed 12 stunts performed by pastors that received significant publicity, including
- bishops pretending to be homeless,
- a week of congregational copulation (followed up with a bed in),
- living the bible as literally as possible (including Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood),
- eating foods that can be purchased on a “food stamp” budget, and
- losing weight for the Lord.
Each of these stunts was designed to make a point, and also to make an impact that extended beyond the initial participants. While I have long been an advocate of effectively marketing a church’s programmatic activities, I realize that all publicity isn’t good publicity. Put differently, a local congregation must think about how a prospective pastoral stunt would contribute to or detract from how others view their congregation and whether or not the point of the stunt is central to their congregation’s unique identity.
- Has your pastor ever done anything you would consider to be a “stunt?” If so, share what was done, and if you feel it was appropriate. If not, share an example of a stunt you think would be consistent with your congregation’s mission and core identity.
- Do you think the overall impact of so many stunts has a positive impact on how people perceive Christianity? Why or why not?