Friday, February 04, 2011

The Church from a business perspective

When I studied business, one of the main themes was competitive advantage. A company had to have a strength or seize on an opportunity or it would fail. There had to be some reason a consumer would choose your company or another one. If no such reason existed, your company would falter.

The Church right now is facing a dilemma in the Western world of how to attract people to Mass and to the faith in general. I think the best and really only way to accomplish this is by giving people pure Catholicism. When the Catholic Church tries to compete with other forms of worship or even forms of entertainment, it loses out because the church is not entertainment and it can only be Catholic.

Imagine the Church as a company for a moment, and let's compare it to Rolls-Royce. What would attract potential buyers of Rolls-Royce more:

A) Presenting Rolls-Royce as a "good" car company, but there are many others which are just as good. Telling people if they come to test drive a Rolls-Royce, you also offer donuts, sandwiches, and a rock band on the premises. Also, the company makes sure not to talk about any "hard" issues like how Rolls Royce cars only use the finest mahogany or lambs wool. Rather, they talk about unifying things like the fact that their cars have tires like other cars and can listen to FM radio. When a customer asks about details on the engine, warranty, workmanship, etc. the owner of the store refuses to tell anyone about those details, because it's better just to ignore them so that no one ever gets offended.

B) Presenting Rolls-Royce as the best car company with uncompromising level of quality. Instead of bothering with donuts and rock bands, the Rolls-Royce dealership focuses on maintaining a very beautiful building and creating an atmosphere where people can go to experience Rolls-Royce. They make sure to tell people what sets Rolls-Royce apart, and explain to people it's not just another car company, it is THE car company. Finally, it gives people all the details, especially on the areas where other dealerships compromise.

Obviously B works much better. So why do so many churches focus on being like A?

If a Catholic church presents itself as just another church, and its doctrines as nothing too special, people will not be inspired. It will not call them to action and they will lose interest. People need to be a part of something. The Church must be what it is. The Church does not offer rock bands and meeting halls, it offers the salvation of souls, it offers Jesus in the Eucharist. I believe if individual churches focus on what it truly means to be Catholic, the number of congregants will soar.

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