Our pastor mentioned in passing from the pulpit last Sunday something called "impression management," which he said church planting organizations are involved in. He spoke neither well nor ill of it, leaving me to think for myself.
A little post-worship service poking around revealed that "impression management" (which, evidently, is a big enough deal to be cheerily called IM by the cognizanti) is a development in the field of professional communications and public relations. It doesn't take much imagination to get the idea here: Someone wants to "manage" or control your "impression" of them, especially, presumably, the all-important "first impression." (It doesn't take much imagination to imagine the shenanigans and deceptions that have been perpetrated in the interest of IM, either: "What people want today is sincerity; if you can fake that, you've got it made.")
Impression management may be neither here nor there when it comes to Hostess Twinkies or the Philadelphia Eagles, but something doesn't sit right with me about it when it comes to church planting. I don't know, is it that the Apostle Paul's first impressions got him thrown out of town more often than not? Jesus' adult debut in Jerusalem was to flip over the tables in the temple. He would never pass the church planter's IM course.
I was told after church by a former pastor in Virginia about a candidate for church planting that he knew, a "plodding, faithful pastor," who was turned down for the position of church planter because he didn't have "charisma." I am not going to second-guess the board, but I sure hope they meant by that that he wasn't on fire for the kingdom of God.
It's just worrisome to hear perfectly good concepts from the Scriptures---like "filled with the Spirit"---replaced by the vocabulary of people marketing Twinkies. Is it me or are we slipping?
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