Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Should the Church advertise?

This week radio advertisements, devised by the Churches' Advertising Network (CAN), will start playing all over the UK on commercial radio stations, delivering the Christmas story in an unusual way.

Why? What does CAN hope to achieve from this?

The first question is simple. A Theos survey last year showed that only 12% of the population, and only 7% of young adults, had a reasonably comprehensive understanding of the Nativity.

There are undoubtedly many reasons for this but one is that there is increasing pressure, from a small if vocal quarter, to “secularize” the public square. Some businesses, for example, are increasingly nervous about sending Christmas cards and some schools about staging Nativity plays, for fear that it will supposedly cause offence to other faiths (or atheists).

The cumulative effect of this is an erosion of the knowledge of the basic tenets of Christianity, in what is supposed to be, at least notionally, a Christian country, a trend that is most pronounced among the increasing number of families with no direct contact with a church.

This campaign is an attempt to reach some of those young people outside the Church, to interest them in finding out more, using humour and an unexpected approach to engage their attention.

The bigger question is “will it work?” (and accordingly, “how will you know?”) Read more
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