Churches and the F word – because the sixth letter of the alphabet is “cutting edge”

I know it’s hard to show that you’re a church that isn’t like all the other churches. A church that’s a little bit edgy – like Jesus was. A church that’s down with the sinners – like Jesus was. A church that is prepared to insult the religious establishment – like Jesus was. A church that is prepared to challenge social norms – like Jesus was… But you know what Jesus wasn’t? He wasn’t edgy for the sake of edginess, hanging out with sinners because he was one, insulting the religious establishment for the sake of it, or challenging social norms to get attention.

So while you might think preaching a sermon telling everybody in your congregation to “F off” – where you mean forgiveness is the kind of sermon Jesus would have preached…

It probably isn’t. I can’t claim to speak for Jesus. I can claim to be faithfully reading and teaching God’s word. But I don’t need the spiritual gift of discernment to know that this is excessively stupid. And only moderately more stupid than preaching this sermon series:

“We’ve all said it; sometimes it’s the only words we have to describe our life… all F’d up! God doesn’t intend for our lives to stay that way, instead He turns our life around through His grace and forgiveness. With His strength and the help of true friends we can move forward. Life doesn’t have to stay All F’d Up!”

See, in this case they’re not even bothering to couch the language as some sort of adoption of the letter F. They’re just being contempervant. Where contemporay meets relevant in portmanteau glory.

One step better, but still incredibly stupid and naive, is the attempt to reclaim the letters WTF for the sake of your church community.

Does anybody actually think this is a good idea? This is why branding professionals exist. To stop you doing what you thought in the shower (when you were really tired and recovering from a bout of delirium, before you’d had your coffee) was a good idea. It’s not a good idea. It’s a dumb idea. You don’t want people looking at your church sign and responding with the very thing you’re trying to rebrand. It’s just a dumb idea.

From Church Marketing Sucks.

“We are aware of what ‘WTF’ originally stands for, and that is actually why we chose it,” says Rob James, with Copper Pointe Church, the Albuquerque, N.M., church behind the college and young adult ministry, Wake. “It is something that our target audience is very familiar with. We are a progressive college group located in Albuquerque, N.M., and we know that any college-aged person is a phone-weilding, text-sending machine. So why not use what they are familiar with?”

“WTF” was on purpose. In fact, it’s a main cornerstone in their branding. Their url is wakeWTF.com, their Twitter handle is @WTFisWake and their Facebook page is Facebook.com/WTFisWake.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

2 thoughts on “Churches and the F word – because the sixth letter of the alphabet is “cutting edge””

  1. All F’d Up could have been a fantastic series on wisdom literature… But no. Life will turn around and move forward (oh yay!). Yep, definitely contempervant.

    1. Yeah. F ’em. And by that I mean forgive them.

      Imagine Cee-Lo singing “Forgive you…”

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