Friday, May 04, 2007

The Goals for Coals

Part 6: The Dopamine-Driven Church

“The era of mass marketing is ending.”

This death knell was sounded in PyroMarketing (HarperBusiness, 2005, p. 15). New marketing styles like PyroMarketing have the potential to radically transform the marketing industry to a new viral age of advertising. This new-fangled style relies upon the mechanics of 1) building experiences in the context of 2) networking communities.

By creating and managing cellular affiliation groups, and linking them together, one can capitalize upon synchronous group experiences that can give birth to waves of emotion, motivation, enthusiasm, excitement -- all of which serve as catalysts to generate more sales. Or, viewed in a broader context, if the intended result is to promulgate a new doctrine or practice, these small groups become the perfect vehicle to achieve transformation.

The transformation of the global church plan fits hand in glove with new age marketing styles. This is because the local church is a ready-made community of people with a common bond of interest. However, the old-fashioned homogenous mass of pew-sitters has to give way to the more lucrative and effective model – the cellular networking structure. The formation of small groups, with “some of its most loyal customers . . . mixed into every group” (p. 218), creates the perfect climate in which to build experiences. When deeply spiritualized activities (spiritual formation, contemplation, mysticism, signs and wonders, etc.) are included in the mix, a reservoir of optimum conditions is maintained. Small groups have the potential to heighten the intended results, serving as a perfect catalyst for transformation.

Since the beginning of February, this blog has been covering the origins, designs and purposes for global networking. We began with the New Age Theosophists, and their original plan to use systems networking to engineer the Aquarian Movement. We then tracked the development of the networking model in the history of the neoevangelical church.

Standing back to take in a composite view of all of this, it seems quite obvious that the next stage of the church growth movement will be to solidify and institutionalize this networking cellular model (“small groups”) in order to best facilitate and market the doctrines and practices of the Movement called The New Apostolic Reformation/Second Reformation.

This cellular networking structure is designed to become far more comprehensive than the local church, however. It comprises a radical new definition of “church” – EKKLESIA. [We noted in the very first post that was put up on this blog back in September 2005.] This new-style church is already being connected horizontally to the marketplace (corporations and businesses) and vertically to the State (including the dominionist call to change governments through the “Kingdom mandate”).

Examined in this broader perspective, the innovative cellular networking structure fully comprises the three legs of Peter Drucker’s 3-legged stool of Society. As the original mainpage of the Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan website [] first proclaimed: P.E.A.C.E. is mobilizing a civilian force of compassion using the worldwide distribution network of local churches.” [emphasis added]

How will this happen? Organizing the global church into networking cells will facilitate transformation to this worldwide "distribution network." Each node and level will align and interconnect both horizontally and vertically like a giant net. Connected to computer databases and assessment methods, it will provide a global feedback mechanism, giving its operators the ability to tweak every little cellular node on the network to ensure optimum performance.

A few insights into this next stage of global marketing can be found by reading PyroMarketing:

“Every book aspires to be a bestseller, but very few achieve it. Not only was The Purpose-Driven Life a bestseller, its success was unprecedented. Publishers Weekly declared it ‘the best-selling hardback in American history.’ How did this one book accomplish what millions more fail to attain? Its success was a side effect of a ministry campaign that, perhaps unknowingly, modeled the four steps that define PyroMarketing.” (p. 206) [emphasis added]

Notice the last sentence in the paragraph. Can you tell the difference between Rick Warren’s book marketing campaign and his “ministry campaign”? This is the key to understanding the formation of what appears to be the next stage in marketing. All 3 legs of the stool could be operating together, blurring the lines between for-profit enterprises and non-profit ministry.

Under the Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan, the Church looks like it is being set up to become the premier global marketing agent (distribution network) for governments and corporations, NGOs and foundations, and all sorts of interest groups and agendas. So, how will this controversial idea be marketed to the church-at-large? By creating the optimal downline structure.

Let's pause to examine some basic facts. PyroMarketing summarizes the steps of Rick Warren’s first successful campaign:

  • Rick Warren collected the “driest tinder” – the thousands of pastors who had logged onto his website and registered as members.
  • “When it was time to launch the Forty Days of Purpose Campaign, he sent a message to the pastors on his list and twelve hundred signed on.” (p. 207)
  • At the end of this very experiential campaign, the final purpose was evangelism where “people were told to share the gospel with others.” This turned into people recommending The Purpose-Driven Life book to others. (p. 207)
  • The Forty Days of Purpose Campaign kept a database of people ("save the coals") who read the book and logged onto, and also maintained a database of over 20,000 churches that participated in the campaign. (p. 208)

Knowing this successful format, it can therefore be imagined that the next stage will utilize the saved coals from the previous campaigns to launch the forthcoming campaign. This is a no-brainer. Even political candidates "save the coals" from previous campaigns to build a contact list of potential voters and donors in their future campaign, often building on a precinct-level cellular operation. Many non-profit and political action groups do the same. In fact, when Tim Challies website documented the troubles that Greg Stielstra was having with Rick Warren over the publishing PyroMarketing two summers ago here and here, he concluded that:

“But why does Warren fear this book? From all I could find, Stielstra has never written anything negative about Rick Warren or The Purpose Driven Life. If anything, he has praised both the book and the author and appears to respect Rick Warren as a pastor and as a church leader. After two rounds of changes that were subsequently approved by Warren's agent it seems clear that the book will be likewise positive in tone. What would cause a person to knowingly risk interfering with a contract made between two other parties? Based on the comments made by his representatives, it would seem that the explanation lies in Warren's fear that his critics will misinterpret the book and twist Stielstra's words to prove that Warren is not a pastor, but a marketer. He feels that people will come to view The Purpose Driven Life as a marketing success rather than a ministry success. This may also impact Warren's global P.E.A.C.E. plan which is in the beginning stages even now. Perhaps when people become aware of PyroMarketing techniques they will come to see themselves as ‘glowing coals’ and realize they are part of a larger marketing campaign.” [emphasis added]

How else can one look at this scenario, if not through the lens of marketing? If the previous campaigns were all about saving coals to ignite the “driest tinder” for the next campaign, then presumably the next campaign could be about marketing a new church structure that will guarantee that in future this type of viral marketing will be even more effective. Plus it paves the road to more interaction with the two other networking legs of the 3-legged stool. And if the church-based cells begin to interconnect with precinct-level political cells, the effect could be volatile.

One mission organization which received pre-training in the next phase of Rick Warren's operations explained:

“Warren plans to add two additional 40-day programs: The third will be 40 Days of Vision focusing on missional and structural renewal. It will incorporate a lay version of The Purpose Driven Church currently under development.

“The final series will be ‘40 Days of P.E.A.C.E’ which will focus on the cultural aspect of renewal, and will move people into ministry and mission. . . ." [emphasis added]

It may be that this "lay version" of The Purpose-Driven Church campaign will function in a similar fashion to the previous campaign by mixing ministry with marketing. Calling Rick Warren “a master marketing tactician,” Orange County Register reporter Gwendolyn Driscoll reported at the beginning of this year that

“The PEACE plan relies on an in-development Web site to organize, train and send missionaries, and a not-yet-launched ‘40-Day’ campaign to mobilize churches.

“The nascent nature of these PEACE ‘products’ may explain why in the Rwandan village of Ruhuha, where small Saddleback groups traveled in March, Warren's ‘second reformation’ of the Christian church has yet to begin.

“That ‘reformation’ posits a new world of church-based evangelism and good works, sparked by exchanges of PEACE missionaries. . . .

“Even Warren agrees the PEACE plan will succeed as an ecumenical movement only if it is authentically about the often-mentioned ‘common good.’ He also acknowledges he will succeed only if he proves himself a true representative of the elusive center and not, as some fear, an evangelical Trojan horse, carrying a particular ideology to the world in the guise of an appealing, purpose-driven message.” [emphasis added]

The Truth:

"Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 1:3)