Two years ago, Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, was marketed heavily to church leaders as "perhaps the best outreach opportunity in 2,000 years." Gibson stunned Hollywood naysayers by pocketing over $600 million as The Passion became the eighth highest grossing film of all time. By targeting churches The Passion may have uncovered the greatest marketing opportunity in 2000 years. But what about the film's spiritual impact - did The Passion deliver?
According to George Barna, it did not. Barna conducted an extensive survey of those who saw the film and concluded:
"Among the most startling outcomes?is the apparent absence of a direct evangelistic impact by the movie?. Less than one-tenth of one percent of those who saw the film stated that they made a profession of faith or accepted Jesus Christ as their savior in reaction to the film's content."
Either The Passion wasn't the greatest outreach opportunity in 2000 years, or churches simply squandered the opportunity it presented.
Barna thinks the problem was relying upon a film to impact lives in a culture saturated with media. "In an environment in which people spend more than 40 hours each week absorbing a range of messages from multiple media, it is rare that a single media experience will radically reorient someone's life."
After seeing Gibson's financial success Disney hired the same marketing firm used by The Passion. Motive Marketing helped Disney convince pastors that its Narnia film was a powerful tool for reaching non-Christians. And repeating The Passion frenzy of 2004, churches gobbled up tickets, reserved entire theaters, devised sermon series, and plastered Narnia marketing materials throughout their communities.
With Motive Marketing's church-based marketing ...