Selling Jesus

There's a piece in the Los Angeles Times this morning about "e-vangelizing," or the listening to sermons on your iPod ("godcasts," they're called) or using Olive Tree Bible Software to read The Good Book on your BlackBerry. Quoted in the story is Richard Reising, president of Artistry Marketing, the 8-year-old Spring Valley Road-based marketing company that claims it's on "a mission" with a "holy call" to "be the most effective marketing firm in the world that caters specifically to the Body of empower churches and ministries to accomplish their God-given visions." According to the site, the Dallas company has more than 500 clients in 40 states and in eight countries, because God, of course, is everywhere.

From Artistry Marketing's Web site, here is Reising's story:

"In the summer of 1995, while on a mission trip to Mexico, God interrupted Reising's directive as a corporate marketing executive and spoke to his heart—pouring out a vision to use high-level marketing principles and cutting-edge design tools to reach into the media-saturated hearts of people in the United States and throughout the world. God's beautiful idea began an incubation process that culminated in the birth of Artistry Marketing three years later."

Artistry makes church hip for kids--which sounds like selling iPods to the deaf, but apparently it works. Reising's even written a well-received book called ChurchMarketing 101: Preparing Your Church for Greater Growth (well, the Web site Church Marketing Sucks called it "the handbook many of us will want to give as gifts to less-than-eager pastors," for what it's worth). Speaking of which, I wonder why the rabbi called yesterday. Should not have asked him to call back later. --Robert Wilonsky