“Ironically, the same law that ensured human beings would no longer have legal status as property was used to grant property the legal status of human beings” (p. 90).
Jethani connect the dots all the way to the institutional church, which we have personified like other corporations. We therefore believe we are supposed to have a relationship with the institution of the church rather than the people of the church.
“As such, with all sincerity, we can say, ‘“I love what you do for me, Faith Community!’ The personification of institutions in our culture means the institutional church, rather than the flesh-and-blood people of God, has become the vehicle of God’s mission in the world.”Thus, we who lead the church as pastors start to believe that our job is to create a corporate brand, a church institution that people will be loyal to, that will have a positive reputation in the community, that our members will invite their friends to.
We develop vision statements, create programs, and we use slick marketing tools (including contemporary logos), all because we believe that the mission of God is to get people to “buy in” with our church, devote themselves to our programs, and in so doing, they will become deeper disciples of Jesus Christ.
But as soon as we start believing that the goal is to sell people warm feelings about the church, then we are way off the mark of God’s true mission for his church. The mission of God is the redemption of His creation. In other words, God is ushering in His Kingdom. The institutional church is not the Kingdom of God, but rather the witnesses to the Kingdom.
Instead of placing the emphasis on marketing the church, the church should be equipping its people to be the witnesses of the Kingdom. It is the “flesh-and-blood people of God” that the Spirit indwells in order to be the incarnational-missional instrument for the Kingdom.