If it’s good enough for Pepsi, it’s good enough for old First Church.
Consumer brands — like Coke and Pepsi — have discovered the power of celebrity endorsements. Millions of gallons of cola are sold on the basis of which star lends his or her reflected glory to one brand name or another.
Just look at Pepsi. First the adoring masses followed the lead of rock singer Michael Jackson — they threw away one glove and joined the Pepsi Generation. Then came the endorsement of that great role model Mike Tyson, who encouraged us to drink Pepsi or he’d punch our lights out (the threat wasn’t actually spelled out in so many words, but I understood — and bought lots of Pepsi).
More recently, the folks at Pepsico paid Madonna $10 million to celebrate their beverage while simultaneously offending half of America (the half with taste). After just two showings of her commercial, executives at Pepsi paid her off (only $5 million, poor thing) and pulled the commercial.
All of which goes to convince me that there is power in celebrity endorsements. After all, marketers don’t toss around millions of dollars out of the kindness of their hearts.
That got me to thinking: if it’s true that the church often mimics society, then we might as well carry that principle into the pulpit, don’t you think? If celebrity endorsements sell soda and sedans, couldn’t they sell sermons?
Just consider the possibilities. Five minutes before your worship service starts, rock singer Bruce Springsteen leaps into the choir loft and begins belting out a tribute to your preaching:
“Born (again) in the USA …
And I owe it all to (insert your name here).”
Can you imagine the reaction of your youth? They might not pay attention to your message, but they will be impressed!
If your style leans a bit more toward Nashville, how about an endorsement by a country singer? Wouldn’t you like to be the first preacher on your block to have Barbara Mandrell as an opening act, singing something like
“I’m a little bit country,
I’m a little bit rock and roll,
But the preaching of Pastor (your name here)
Has me feeling fully whole.”
After an endorsement like that, what Church Finance Committee could refuse you a healthy salary increase?
Of course, lots of endorsements are done by celebrities who can’t sing, dance or act. How about a famous sports figure, like Pete Rose? Imagine the impact of shooting a TV commercial for your church with good old Pete offering an endorsement like:
“Don’t gamble with your spiritual health when you can have a sure thing like Dr. (your name here) keeping tabs on you!”
It’s a sure bet that kind of commercial would get those sports fans out of the bleachers and into your pews.
Of course, there will always be those stuffed-shirt types who think celebrity endorsements are out of place in church. They’re the ones who think the only endorsement your preaching needs is from the Holy Spirit.
Just imagine the royalties that endorsement will cost you!

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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