Week 48: "Should The Mother Church be doing more active marketing in order to get their message out about Church and Christian Science?"

Response 1: Phil Davis

Well, my first response in reading this question is “yes!” But I immediately thought of two other questions: What is it we should market? And what do you mean by marketing?

Let me answer the last question first. Marketing is widely associated with advertising, infomercials, and media coverage based on statistical studies and analysis. The word has become equated with “in your face” manipulation and pushiness. But marketing can also mean making a product widely available to the public.

Our church headquarters has an important role in communications to the public. And so do our local churches. And yet, I have found that it is what we individually do between Sunday and Wednesday services that is the best tool for public awareness of Christian Science. “Elevating the race” and “rousing the dormant understanding” (Science and Health, p. 583) has to be more than just two, one-hour services. I’m not talking about being pushy or trying to convert others. I’m talking about caring and loving enough to offer ourselves to those in need and meeting them where they are.

And that brings me to the first question: What should we market? For me the top product we have is healing. Yes, sharing our own healing experiences is important, but also publicly healing. This isn’t about being a practitioner of Christian Science, as much as it is being a Christian Scientist who heals publicly. Mary Baker Eddy set the bar. Even in latter years, she was still healing whether it was a construction worker coming to her home or those she encountered on her daily carriage rides. Those who met her or just saw her, were always touched, blessed, and/or healed. Shouldn’t the same be said of us?

In recent years, I’ve really prayed to love and be alert to my neighbor’s needs wherever I am. And opportunities to help, pray, and heal others have come as a result. These were not formal meetings but just conversing with a server at a restaurant who is having health problems, or the guy paving my driveway who just lost a brother. If we each had the kind of healing record Eddy had in her public encounters, I can’t imagine a better, more effective way to “market” Christian Science to the world.

Response 2: Jenny Lobl

The Mother Church is a unique organization that is structured so that each individual, through prayer, helps determine the collective progress. Members might hold different views on the question of marketing the message, but all would agree that the starting point is prayer.

If we are striving to share Christian Science with others, a place to start in prayer is the acknowledgement of each individual’s present and eternal oneness with divine Mind, knowing that Mind is communicating to each of its children whatever they need to know in order to progress spiritually. We can know that neither ignorance, fear, nor sensuality can obscure the Science of being. We can pray that God’s word “enrich the affections of all mankind” (see p. 41 in the Manual of The Mother Church).

Mary Baker Eddy was following divine direction when she wrote the Manual so we trust that the church structure it lays out is the one that best supports Christly efforts to introduce Christian Science to the "millions of unprejudiced minds" referred to in Science and Health (see p. 570).

The Manual specifies various avenues for sharing Christian Science, for example Reading Rooms and lectures, and we can prayerfully support the offices that oversee those activities. And if ideas come to us through prayer, we can share them! Christian Scientists all over the world have and will continue to come up with great ideas for ways our movement can progress, and those ideas can be implemented locally and/or shared directly with the relevant personnel employed by The Mother Church.

In speaking of the allness of Mind and the harmony of its creation, Mrs. Eddy wrote, “The straight and narrow way is to see and acknowledge this fact, yield to this power, and follow the leadings of truth” (Science and Health, p. 151). Whenever there’s a need to consider what, if any, human steps to take in any given situation, it’s important to know that in order to recognize and follow divine guidance we need to first see and acknowledge spiritual reality and yield to this in thought. The more we do this, the more effectively we’ll be honoring our “duty to mankind” (see Manual of The Mother Church p. 42) and sharing the healing message of Christian Science—both in our daily contacts with others and in our efforts to support activities carried out by The Mother Church.

  1. I remember reading in a 1939 Journal that the church had established a television fund, which (I assume) led to the television series "How Christian Science Heals". How awesome was THAT? Clearly in the early days, the Mother Church was taking advantage of every outlet, not just ones that existed in Victorian times. Why aren't we using television today?

    The short videos that were put in Youtube during the healthcare debate were really good, but only seen by a small amount of people. Was television not considered? I wish someone from the Mother Church would explain the "strategy", as it's rather baffling.

  2. This is indeed a very interesting question. Today, unlike many years ago, most Christian Science churches have very few visitors. Those newcomers who do find their way into a CS branch church probably would find a small and somewhat elderly congregation. I can't imagine that this state of affairs would particularly attract many newcomers, but I am sure that there are exceptions.

    As has been said before on this site, the type of service in the CS church (e.g. a "read" service) would be somewhat difficult for some people to get into (the "boredom" factor). I guess that once a newcomer surmounts this problem, that there is a decent chance they may stay interested.

    When I think of church advertising or marketing, I picture the type of ads done by other church groups (like the Mormons), where they have a minute or two spot on TV. Is this what the Question had in mind? If it were done well, it might be am excelloent way (although expensive) to interest a newcomer.

    I think that one of the main difficulties faced by CS when it is presented to the non-CS world is the overwhelming public identification of Christian Science as the religion which forbids its members to go to a doctor. Now, we all know that this simply is not true, but it is the general impression of most non-Christian Scientists. It would take a very carefully thought out marketing campaign to overcome this misconception.

  3. I appreciate both Phil's and Jenny's answers. They cover a wide spectrum of what is needed. I have become a student of marketing in the last seven years because of being in business for myself and needing to promote my services.

    Phil is right, a lot of marketing, especially on the Internet is too pushy, etc. We don't want to go that route. Over the 35 years I have been an active member of the CS church, I have seen untold hundreds and thousands of dollars wasted because someone or some church, both locally and even The Mother Church thought a pretty advertisement, or series thereof, was a good idea. Or the copy was not aimed at the target audience or didn't know how to talk to the target audience or didn't know how to retain the customer (Monitor, years ago). Almost all of these ads I have ever seen showed an almost complete lack of understanding of what real marketing is. I have realized this only in hindsight, since I started studying marketing principles.

    Now, I am certainly no expert! But I do know that not everyone agrees on what constitutes successful marketing principles. Some things work and some don't. So should The Mother Church start a marketing campaign? Yes and No. Yes, if they will actually do something that works and No if they are just going to do what some slick agency thinks will work. I used to sell retail advertising for the Monitor many years ago. One of the complaints from my customers was that they would win awards for the beautiful ads in other publications designed by ad agencies, but these same ads would not get them a single new customer.

    I'm sure all the ads placed in earlier times by The Mother Church were based with prayer. I have no way to know how effective they were. But from little snippets I have heard 2nd and 3rd hand or more handed, I think they weren't or they would have been kept up. But that is just guessing on my part.

    When I worked on Security at The Mother Church years ago, they used to have big banner ads in the kiosks at the entrance to the plaza. I was on the plaza a lot and no one ever really looked at those "marketing" pieces. Except once when an old Reading Room poster which simply said, "God Still Loves You." I saw numerous passers-by stop and gaze thoughtfully at that message. Something spoke to them and met a need they had. But guess what. Within days the posters were taken down because church members, complained that it wasn't an accurate metaphysical statement. I remember one friend going into a tizzy over it. I'm really not kidding here. I'm sure there is more to that story, but that was my perspective. I contend it WAS an accurate statement of truth. And it spoke to the human heart in a way that all our absolute declarations of truth may not.

    I know when I placed ads for our branch church, we certainly prayed about what to do. But the ads were not good marketing pieces and were in no way impelling to someone looking for what we had to offer. They were gorgeous to look at or carefully laid out, etc. But they were not successful in the sense of getting people to come to lectures or to church.

    And by the way, as far as marketing goes, I wonder what kind of measurable response there is to the in-house ads in the periodicals these days. A good ad is trackable so you know exactly when you get a response from it.

    Mrs. Eddy says somewhere, quoted in a recent article in the Journal or Sentinel, that we could not talk people into church, we had to heal them into church. Or something like that. That is the only way.

    My question is: Who is actually asking this question about marketing and why? And how do we know the past mistakes will not be repeated? Lots of businesses fail because they don't understand marketing, do it incorrectly and then they say marketing didn't work.

    And as far as what "top products" we have to offer. I did not come into Christian Science for healing. I came into it because I was searching for the truth. Mrs. Eddy dedicated Science and Health to honest seekers for truth. We have a theology that answers people's questions about God, Christ, man's nature and his relationship to God in a way no other theology answers these questions. People are searching for this theology. Yes, healing is part of the picture, but not everyone is looking for healing. They want something that makes sense amid all the man-made doctrines out there. They are tired of theoretical husks as Mrs. Eddy says.

    Phil is right. Our best "marketing" is letting our light shine in a way that glorifies God, not CS or ourselves, but God. But we also have to talk to people in a way they can understand. I have heard many CStists, even lecturers sometimes talk like they are talking just to other CStists. You need to know who you are talking to so you can frame your message in a way they will hear it. You can't talk to a born again Christian the same way you would an atheist. So it is with marketing. If we do it locally or Mother Churchwise, it must be for a specific audience or audiences.

    Didn't mean to go on so long and I could say a lot more. This subject is very close to my heart. But I will stop here.

    May prayer and common sense guide us all on this topic.

  4. Everyone agrees that we all want "good" outreach campaigns, but we'll never agree on what "good" means. Apparently it means "not using media professionals to get our message out". And the result? No impact. No change in public opinion. High rated television shows that openly mock CS (i.e. CSI) These things ARE measurable.

    We could learn a lot from the Mormons: their church is growing at an astounding rate, and yet they were still uneasy with the public perception of their religion. So they took to the airwaves and the subways. With very gentle but VERY prevalent messages; in some huge media markets. I think we should do the same.

  5. Disceminating information about our church via a community oriented newsletter, aimed at non-church members can go a long way in "telling our story". We are doing that through a Reading Room newsletter that tells people what goes on there and how it can be helpful. We are trying to develop a bigger email list, which allows for less printing, mailing and other costs involved.

    The MC provides Reading Room materials, photos of products etc., which allows churches to promote in the way tha works best for their communities.

    And certainly our lectures, which the MC provides for through the Board of Lectureship, is a way to "market" what and who we are as well as providing corrective informaiton.

  6. What's the use of having clever and upbeat marketing tactics, making outsiders think we're "abreast of the times", if any persons interested enough to peek in find themselves thrown back 400 years to a Bible translation even native English speakers have difficulties with? That's just one of many observations that could be made.

  7. After reading James' excellent post, I really can't think of anything more to add. He has covered all of the points so completely.

    I do want to comment on one of his remarks though. He says "But we also have to talk to people in a way they can understand. I have heard many CStists, even lecturers sometimes talk like they are talking just to other CStists."

    This touches on a point I made in my first comment. One of the problems, as I see it, is the very limited degree to which the Sunday or Wednesday service can be adapted or modified to appeal more directly to the newcomer. I am not talking about the message contained in the readings, but rather the format of "reading" itself. How many non-CSers would find 35 minutes (Sunday Lesson-Sermon) of non-stop reading an interesting and pew-riveting format?

    James' reference to the kiosk poster on the Mother Church plaza ("God Still Loves You") and how it spoke directly to the people passing by reminds me of one of my favorite early writers for the CS periodicals, Louise Wheatly Cook Hovanian ("The Passing of the Seagull"- 1927-- and "The Truth About Adversity"-- 1941) Anyone, no matter what his/her religious background, would find that these two articles speak directly to the heart. We need more writing of this quality.

    And finally, referring to something that Mari (#1) comments on in her post. She wonders why the CS church is not using television much any more (e.g. "How Christian Science Heals" - which I always used to watch (many, many years ago). I would imagine that it has to do with the cost of using television. I may be wrong, but I don't think so. With all of the budget cutting by the Mother Church over the last few years, there probably is not much left over for TV production.

  8. I want to underline what James wrote about why he came into CS, which applies to me: "I did not come into Christian Science for healing. I came into it because I was searching for the truth...Our best 'marketing' is letting our light shine." I came back to CS by God's grace that reached me through an Indian meditation teacher. I want to heal by letting my light shine, by discovering how our church can bless and be blessed by greater commitment to the community, and through prayers to lift global consciousness to a higher plane.
    Unfortunately, too many Christian Scientists and CS Churches are both invisible and anonymous and this has to change or we will fade into an historical footnote. We have to wake up and want to connect with others, individually and collectively.

  9. I was born and raised in New York City to Jewish parents. My family was not college educated but well read and knew a lot about the world they lived in. Still I never heard of Christian Science until I was in my thirties. See I had met this couple who were the parents of a first grade school mate of my son. These people were gentle and joyous and for a reason I did not know until later on, I felt safe with them. So safe, that I told them I needed to get out of my marriage . They began to share some simple ideas about God that I found empowering and comforting. A few months later I left that marriage. When I questioned where they learned about God they told me about Christian Science. Then I was able to confess that since I was eight years old, I loved Jesus. Since that was odd for a Jewish child , I kept it a secret. But when I found Christian Science I had some profound healings early on and have been a devote student of it now for more than 30 years. I know we have to do wise and useful practical things. But make no mistake. The Christ is advertised through the way we live it, more than anything else.

  10. In her published works, Mrs. Eddy never used the word "outreach," but she came close. Her letter to the widow of President McKinley may contain the secret to spiritual marketing. She wrote, "My soul reaches out to God for your support, consolation and victory." (My 290)Human sense would reach out to the sad widow, just as human marketing reaches out to needy mortals, but our Leader reached out to God instead. Perhaps she knew Mrs. McKinley was not actually a needy mortal, but was one with God. When marketing CS, we might remember the old adage, "the person you speak to is the person who will answer."

  11. In a letter dated 1903 Mary Baker Eddy provides this guidance "Unless we have better healers and more of this work than any other is done, our Cause will not stand. Demonstration is the whole of Christian Science, nothing else will save it and continue it with us. God has said this - and Christ Jesus has proved it." This was in a Christian Science Sentinel or Journal and I believe the year was 1935.

    Demonstration of the Christ Truth seems, to me, to be excellent advertising.

  12. Previous comments make mention that "I did not come into CS for the healing" but for the Truth. I think everyone comes to CS for Healing. This healing however might not be of a physical nature but it is, nevertheless, Healing. When we experience error, which can be expressed as confusion, discontent, alienation, loneliness arn't we seeking healing?

    The point is, Healing, is the best avenue for marketing or advertising and it is done by us primarily as individuals and through the manual supported church activities, ie: reading room, services, Sunday school and especially lectures.

    Eddy made these comments: "His voice was not heard in the streets", "It's (CS, my words) not to be carried (promoted, my words) as anti slavery or temperance are". letter to student

    "It's not christlike to act in any wordly way to promote anything'

    "Drop advertising all together except in your own ranks"

    "Our reach was through the board of lectureship"

    "Your enemies will advertise for you"

  13. My mother was familiar with CS around 1960 from the program that I thought was entitled, "The Truth That Heals." It came on right after Oral Roberts who she was fond of watching. She was recommended to a CS practitioner by a friend that was not CS. So it was a combination of media and the CS practice.

  14. Wow, so many excellent constructive observations above! But the one which rings my bell is Marilyn's: "Unfortunately, too many Christian Scientists and CS Churches are both invisible and anonymous and this has to change or we will fade into an historical footnote."

    Fellow members: We have a marketing campaign already ! It's called: invisibility, anonymity, antiquity! Eddy said/warned/explained/reassured:"Your enemies will advertise for you." (CSJ Vol 17, p 84) And how they have!

    All the crummy media coverage of kiddy cases and the Monitor media expansion was worth $ tens of millions in marketing -- to our enemies. Every person-visit to CS real estate receives an "impression" [a laden marketing term] of who-needs-it, where are the crowds, gee I can always get a seat... This is worth $ tens of millions -- to our opponents.

    And lest this sound like a conspiracy theorist writing, there is little organized opposition to CS. But as my MD friend explained to me, "Medicine is now our State Religion," so the deck is certainly stacked. But still, as Pogo said, we have seen the real adversary and it is us.

    We seem hell-bent to allow newcomers only on our terms! "I learned Shakespeare and Coleridge and King James Bible the old-fashioned way by God and so must you." Eddy invented new vocabulary, new meanings for traditionally-understood theological terms -- much to the frustration and disdain of our believer-buddies out there, to this day. We are not an easy sell, nor easily marketable. Great inspired minds have worked on this problem, every beloved Board I am positive. Of course, a CS presence on global television was well on its way when it was derailed by our own dissenters 20 yrs ago.

    Phil, the original post-er, has been in the thick of the world's misconceptions about CS and CSers. Maybe he'll comment further about the impressions we give to outsiders with no modern English translation of S&H (there are, what, 17 others and Germany has had two). What does it say when we slam the branch membership door on a diabetic who needs insulin to survive, or on a gay or lesbian truth-seeker, or a smoker -- these follies have been ventilated here on other threads.

    And when the KJV, which Eddy mentions nowhere in the Manual, has become a beloved antique used by only 20% of mainstream US Christian churches (and those the most fundy) why-oh-why is some updating so problematic for us?

    It's because CS has become an exclusive club for many of us -- not with evil intent! No: asking a recent immigrant (perhaps among the few unprejudiced minds in the US) to learn Eddy-era elocution and 600-yr-old Bible language is for his own good!

    So, of course the healing and salvation are the main things CS offers and we keep working on that individually and collectively, but make no mistake: we are marketing every day in ways we do not especially comprehend. "Denial," of this sort, is not serving us very well, is it?

  15. How about a Christian Science TV channel CSTV. Like the History Channel with CS related topics and shows?

  16. In response to previous comments: I too did NOT come into CS for or because of healing. In my early study of CS, I wished I HAD come to it through some dramatic healing like the ones I heard about in testimony meetings. I felt then that that would have made it easier for me to accept the doctrine. But by sticking with it and through the loving support of members, I understand more now of CS and have witnessed countless healings. So it was the example and love of the members and studying S&H that has helped me progress most.

    Simply put, I think we should market S&H....the book, not the CS church. The book is where people can find Truth and start their own healing journey. Someone sent me a picture of (I think) TMC Reading Room and in the background was a simple but very direct sign about what S&H could do for you. I wish I remembered the wording exactly. But I thought how cool it would be for that simple message and a picture of S&H to be on bill boards along busy highways, newspapers, magazines (where ever) with the e-mail address of spirituality.com or something like that. That's not being pushy or in your face about CS. Let people know more that there is this book that came change every aspect of their lives and they can search it out on the web and purchase it, read it and use it. Do a wider marketing of "THE BOOK".

  17. Sarah, I agree. Unless WE are all living CS daily, unless WE are being good examples of what a Christian Scientist is, it's all just pretty words.
    If we live it, others will notice...conversations start...lives improve, and headway is made.

    From my experience, others DO notice, and they ask.

  18. I would say be wary of turning to material methods for the promotion of spiritual ideas. The debacle of Monitor TV and the millions of dollars wasted there ought to serve as a sobering reminder of the limitations and disappointments of seeking to promote our Cause through material based systems and thinking. MBE said: "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds."

  19. When we had the Monitor Channel it was some of the best TV available. I still remember some of the news coverage and commentary, which was excellent. Our entire nation would benefit from that kind of balanced, fair, reasoned, and non-sensational reporting. And Christian Science would be seen and heard daily big time. Again.

  20. Look how Mrs. Eddy uses the word "promote" and its derivatives in her published writings. It's even in the Manual that steps were taken to promote the CS church. Gasp! The deed of trust for the Christian Science Publishing Society uses the word at least twice in phrases such as "promoting the interests of Christian Science," and "so as to promote the best interests of the Cause."

    But she didn't want this promoting to be carried out on any but a "strictly Christian basis." Mrs. Eddy was the best promoter of her Cause, but she never resorted to earthly ways and means. But she did promote it in God's way and she expected us to as well.

    In letters to students she gave specific directions for specific situations and those directives cannot be used as justification for all future situations. The context needs to be studied. I would love to know the context of the "drop advertising altogether" comment, when it was given and under what circumstances. What is the lesson learned there?

    To advertise or not to advertise, to market or not to market: these are NOT the first questions to ask. The question is: How we can best glorify God, follow our Leader, serve the Cause, and be a help to mankind? Different members will get different answers to this prayer because God has different things for us each to do.

  21. It seems to me that one of the biggest issues we face today is the misconception that ANY change in the form, i.e. the version of the Bible in use, the slightest departure from the strictures put in place in the Manual, will somehow pollute, or invalidate, the doctrine. Honestly, is the message twisted, deformed, changed in any way if the readers read from a modern version of the Bible?

  22. Hi there--

    I love you all, but you guys are wearing me out with all this "the sky is falling" conversation about the evils of marketing. Mrs. Eddy was a genius when it comes to marketing. Our Reading Rooms are example of her marketing acumen; so are CS lectures; so are her periodicals, at least two of which were founded to make Christian Science more accessible to the public. She marketed using the tools of her day (newspaper, door to door sales), and when they did not suffice, she prayed and founded NEW IDEAS that would serve the cause better. Marketing does not have to be "slick" It does not have to be dishonest, nor does it need to manipulate or unduly influence. One important role that marketing can play is to inform--plain and simple. But for Christian Scientists to say, "Marketing??? We don't want any marketing!!!" is like the Amish saying, "Electricity??? We don't want any of that!!!" Come on, people. The Christian Science brand is in a horrible state. Christian Science is completely misunderstood by 90% of the US population. People don't know what CS is. I think our church's first and foremost responsibility is to address this challenge. Hello????? Is anybody out there listening???

  23. I am in agreement with each one who said we individually need to express Christian Science in our daily behavior and this is the best advertising we can do. Mary Baker Eddy has already given us all the tools needed in the periodicals and in her writings which are available in the Reading Rooms to advertise her reveleation of Christ Jesus's teachings for all time. If we are practicing seeing mankind as Jesus did, as the perfect image and likeness of God, we will be showing our part of the world what a true Christian is. Mrs. Eddy even tells us that one with God is a majority, so we should be certain we are with God and our lives will draw others to want that understanding, too. I believe that is giving to the community in a way that can be understood by all.

  24. Hey, I just had a good marketing idea. We can all be marketeers!
    If you are on Face Book why not share your latest healing or a good idea you gleaned from a Sentinel article or the Monitor. Talk about how you enjoy Spirituality.com and recommend it to your friends .No need for jargon speak or sounding too "holy' We would just sharing good news with our friends and its source. What do you think about that?
    Another thought. How can we bring more light and joy into our services? Less formality is always good in
    bringing groups together and it expresses a sense of acceptence and togetherness and ease. And what is wrong with giving a few hugs?

  25. Thx @DavidC for articulating what has become of the CS "brand." Absent Eddy, we are left with a huge visibility problem. The early CS church had great advantage when she was as well-known as Mark Twain; but of course we don't want to conjure her too much lest we be misunderstood as a cult.

    And @Gil Bird, there was a massive push re: The Book (S&H) in the 1990s and it got copies sold past 10 million, I believe. Whether it was swollen by CSers buying copies for distribution I don't know (we sure did, and gave them away expectantly). The Board may be concerned now w issues of longer-term sustainability as CS numbers shrink.

    Now, CS is growing in certain places overseas, and maybe it wld be smart to decide the US is filled with Anything-But "unprejudiced minds" these days, and concentrate on S America and Africa, where the living is not so relatively easy. Cast the net on the right side? I don't know; but to a Martian we sure still look like an Anglo/Commonwealth operation, judging by our demographics, architecture, music, and adherence to fading linguistics.

    As to TV @KarenNM, that train left when the opportunity was lost in the early 1990s. Now there are thousands of channels and getting the toehold we had would be beyond our means. Of course the internet is another possibility and the Board is putting big $ there so maybe it will just take time.

    But the very language has passed us by, esp S&H, and the fact that the wonderful "MyBibleLesson" each week translates 40 words in the lesson proves utterly what a code-reading club we have become! Clearly S&H needs a hypertext translation, and Boston shld get a Bible-scholar-and-CSB-laden committee together to do it before someone else does it awkwardly.

    By hypertext, for those new to the concept, is meant an online (or on-smartphone) text with many clickable terms. Clicking them takes the reader to a definition, perhaps contrasting Eddy's dictionary to a modern meaning. Or where Eddy mentions Bow, NH, click for a pic and some history and context.

    Truth seekers today are well-spoilt by the internet, and having to read S&H with an Oxford English Dict'y handy is asking way too much of the newcomer. Asking Boston BofD to do a real modern English translation of S&H is obviously too much; so maybe hypertext is the do-able middle ground.

    Requiring Masters' English skills of newcomers is just one more proud barrier we put up, kinda like the self-defeating and contradictory barriers branches persist in having to new membership. At least we have seen what happens when the literal, raw S&H book is put out there -- not much. Been there, done that.

    If you were speaking with a child you would not use huge words. If you were getting to know a tourist struggling with your language, ditto. It is not dumbing-down -- it is polite, Christian.

  26. Thank you David C. for your comments. I totally agree. Of all the marketers I am following, some of the most successful are using the same "marketing" approach as Mrs. Eddy did to get her message out there.

    There are all sorts of things that could be done both on a local level and at The Mother Church. TMC needs a complete revamping of their marketing vision, plan, strategy on many levels. But what will they do? I can pray about all of it, but I am only in the position to act locally, so what will I do?

    Our branch church is actively talking about fresh ways to promote the Cause of Christian Science in our community. We are talking about all kinds of creative ideas, but we first have to get our vision, purpose and motives in line with God's will. Nothing to report yet, but we are in the conversation and that is big progress.

    The time is ripe for us to show mankind the love we say we have for them and share CS with the world. I'd like to hear what everyone who has written on this forum is going to do or is doing toward that end.

    Hymn 183 says,
    Make haste, O man, to do
    Whatever must be done;
    Thou hast no time to lose in sloth,
    When all to Truth must come.

    The useful and the great,
    The thing that never dies,
    The silent toil that is not lost, —
    Set these before thine eyes.

    Up, face the task and work;
    Fling ease and self away;
    This is no time for thee to sleep;
    Up, watch, and work, and pray.

    Let's do it.

  27. I'm just responding to "Whatmeworry" who hoped I would comment further on the impressions we give to outsiders.

    From my perspective and experience, the public tends to view Christian Scientists as a rather inward group of church members who don't care much about what is happening around us in the world. I can hear some church members get defensive about that appearance, but the fact is we can do a whole lot more to be seen in this world. And when it comes to being seen by others, no project or marketing scheme will work if we are not known first and foremost as healers by people who have been healed (physical or non-physical). I'm talking about face-to-face encounters! Our churches were founded as the result of Christian Scientists in communities healing. Why do we think it will be anything else or anything better that promotes them to the public?

    From my reading no where does MBE get more emphatic or more promotional than when talking about the need for public healing. Here are some examples:
    Church Manual
    Healing the sick and the sinner with Truth demonstrates what we affirm of Christian Science, and nothing can substitute this demonstration. I recommend that each member of this Church shall strive to demonstrate by his or her practice, that Christian Science heals the sick quickly and wholly, thus proving this Science to be all that we claim for it. Man 92:4
    Several letters from MBE:
    Christian Healer (CH) page 108 MBE
    “…get students into the field as practitioners, and their healing will sell the book and introduce the science more than aught but my lecturing can do.”
    CH 209 MBE
    “Healing is the best sermon, healing is the best lecture, and the entire demonstration of Christian Science. The sinner and sick healed are our best witnesses.”
    CH 210 MBE To a renegade teacher of CS.
    “healing the sick and reforming the sinner demonstrate Christian Science, and nothing else can, does.”
    “By it I got the attention of the world; my words and writings, sermons and students, or adherents, could not, did not, do it. But my wonderful healing did it.”
    CH 260 MBE
    Now I name a need that is above all others to ensure the perpetuity of the present success of Christian Science and its continued advancement, namely a higher and more practical healing.
    CH 209 MBE
    “I retain my conviction that the greatest need that our Cause has is better healers. Those of experience, Christian character, and ability are more needed, much more, to fill this appointment in proof of Christian Science than to build up churches.”
    CH 209 MBE
    Unless we have better healers, and more of this work than any other, is done, our Cause will not “stand and having done all stand.”

  28. Very interesting discussion. I find that after reading the many responses I can agree with many of the things that have been said. It is true that each Christian Scientist is a walking example of the religion to those around him/her. When just a high school senior, back about 1930, my own mother, through her life example, was instrumental in bringing at least one person into CS.

    I also agree that Mrs. Eddy was quite exceptional in her ways of promoting CS during her lifetime (e.g. Reading Rooms, lectures, etc.) WhatMeWorry (#25) points out quite correctly that the early CS church had a very great advantage which the CS church today does not have (i.e. the fame of Mrs. Eddy during her lifetime). In fact, I have heard that in the early 20th century Mrs. Eddy was probably one of the best known public figures in the U.S.

    There is also one other very great factor working against the growth of the CS church today and it is something that all the excellenst marketing in the world cannot do anything about. It is the increasing success and new discoveries of the medical field. With each new medical discovery, it becomes more and more difficult to argue against turning to medical science and instead using what, to most people, is a method which they find questionable. This is why, I feel, it is incumbent upon the CS church to leave it up to each individual to decide just to what degree they rely on CS methods (e.g. "radical reliance"). I know that this has been the direction of the Mother Church in recent years and I wholeheartedly support this new direction. Perhaps with better "marketing" some growth in the church might result.

    One final point. Several posters have mentioned (#6 Nancy and #14 WhatMeWorry) that the language of the KJV Bible and Science and Health makes it difficult for the newcomer to gain access to the CS message. While I myself have not found this to be an impediment to understanding the message, I can easily see that to many this really might be a major obstacle. The problem with the CS church structure is that there really is no method provided to make significant needed changes. To those who herald the Manual as the bulwark supporting the CS church today, why can't they point to the growth of the church as proof of its efficacy? (One side point. As an English major I absolutely love the language of the KJV Bible. But then, I have a Masters degree in English.)

  29. Amen. Amen. Amen to everything Phil Davis #27 says about healing. That is our best marketing. If you heal someone of a life threatening disease, they won't care what version of the Bible you read at church.

    So, what will we each heal today?

    Maybe that should be next week's question for this forum.

  30. The Mother Church has explored marketing Christian Science over the past several decades. My opinion is that mass marketing efforts such as "The Monitor Channel" and infomercials on the Discovery Channel were costly with little movement toward the goal of informing non-Christian Scientists of the healing power of Christian Science. I suspect that data on the effectiveness of mass media advertising from the Church of Later Day Saints is not available to us.

    Virginia Harris's interviews on the Larry King Show reached a wide audience and were informative as was the segment on the PBS series "Religious News Weekly". Our various offices and committees that interact with the media should continue to get free coverage for Christian Science via news programming.

    Building on previous responses, I agree that the message needs to be that healing through Christian Science offers an effective alternative to medical treatment. Perhaps internet advertisements on medical reference websites (such as Web MD) would provide exposure to those seeking healing for a minimal investment.

  31. Just thinking about the ideas of the language of CS - it is interesting to see the growth in Africa etc where few would have masters in English. But they so love the Truth that they study and share ideas until they have it understood.
    I struggled at first but it was the Truth that had got hold of me and Healings followed - small but enough to confirm that this was the only text book I would need.
    So good to read all the discussions and supported by prayer we can only go forward.

  32. Hello everyone, thank you for all comments; they sound from the heart. Is Christian Science logic simple? YES. Is it easy to the human understanding? Not to start with. Put all the CS literature in the most current and simple of languages; will that make it more understandable? Maybe. Will it therefore make it easier to demonstrate the saving Truth in lives? Or will we still ask Truth to come for us at a more convenient time?
    America created a powerful tool in the realm of the Big Bang Theory of creation (also Gen. 2+ fable)= Marketing: How to convince people of what is best for them. That is what I call “The Science of Doing.” “The Science of Being (CS)” would explain it thus= Marketing: omniscient Infinity, Good, God. The CS Pastor includes no quotes from any Science of Doing because Infinity is fully accomplished. Our Spiritual salvation is individual, and mass marketing (mass mesmerism), cannot change that because there is no other power or creation. Let’s enjoy that we are moving forward because we are working on our salvation, “in and out of season,” humbly sharing the fruits of the Spirit with whomever God puts in our path. He blesses all that offer that to Him.
    Love to you all.

  33. Nice comments! In my heart I go with your opinion that the best advertising one can ever contribute is to demonstrate what our Master Christian had always sought his followers to do; that we let our light shine before men that they may see our good works/examples and from it they will honor our Father who is in heaven/harmony.

    Here is a question that came to me after trying to understand the Golden Text [in this weeks Bible Lesson]. "I invite the whole world to turn to me and be saved. I alone am God! No others are real."
    It was pointed out to me that God isn't only talking to Christian Scientists and then came this question to thought. Does God even know of a Christian Science organization? Or does God only know/recognize a quality of His' multiplying as it is being demonstrated?
    Thank you all.

  34. Thx PhilD for the reply: healing is Job One. I suppose the salvation-vs-healing question remains, as where Eddy wrote: "This coming, as was promised by the Master, is for its establishment as a permanent dispensation among men; but the mission of Christian Science now, as in the time of its earlier demonstration,is not primarily one of physical healing. Now, as then,signs and wonders are wrought in the metaphysical healing of physical disease; but these signs are only to demonstrate its divine origin, — to attest the reality of the higher mission of the Christ-power to take away the sins of the world." (S&H 150:8)Maybe sin is swept under healing.

    But healings are the signs-following, and we keep them to ourselves, even making them hard-to-research by "claim" name. I am familiar directly or indirectly with five AIDS healings through CS. When it comes to marketing (in its best sense of service, meeting needs) this set of healings could be bundled with permissions and background and offered to appropriate outlets for critique and dissemination.

    Ditto with raisings from the dead. I know of about as many as above, including one story told me by a non-CS who was present when her 70-yr-old grandmother was raised by a 90-yr-old CS practitioner.

    Probably our Directors have good reasons to steer clear of such publicity, but as I quoted Eddy above: "Your enemies will advertise for you," and they can do so more cheaply (in both senses of the word) now that everyone is a publishing society, via the internet.

  35. "The devotion of thought to an honest achievement, makes the achievement possible."

    Lee, above, gave practical examples of simple, effective things branch churches can do, and his church has a great track record of succeeding with them! They also put to use the marketing materials The Mother Church already provides (hint, hint).

    Same with our own practical experience in life. Our lights are shining, and adding clarity and warmth wherever we go, even gently healing.
    Come on guys, it's not so bleak!

  36. The answers I have read traverse the spectrum of opinion. And, all reflect the various degrees of understanding and healing effect of our study of Christian Science. Should we do more to promote? Yes? How? The lessons of our Master are ample and the direction of our leader is explicit. Our Master sent the deciples out two by two. Mrs. Eddy demanded practical application from her students and more so from herself. Promotion of the healing efficacy of Christian Science is not a question of should we but a question how should we.

  37. Hello, everybody. This is a wonderful and uplifting exchange of ideas and worries and thoughts of progress. I would like to add some things that stood out and still stand out from my experience. I was priviledged to work as the secretary of the General Manager at the Christian Science pavilion at the New York World's Fair in 1963-4. In thinking of this outstanding event I only later realized that somehow this was the beginning of "modern times" for our movement. The exhibit designer used all available devices at the time to present Christian Science to a curious and spiritually hungry public. Many Christian Scientists felt this was so important that they used their vacations to come to New York and work as volunteers at the pavilion. It was an experience I will never forget: just being there, meeting people, explaining Christian Science, its organisation and its healing work. There came out a little booklet afterwards with the reports of the volunteers about conversations, healings and the like.

    the other thing I would like to mention - like a number of you stressed too - is prayer, and again prayer, and again prayer growing from our love for God. Connected with this is my love of the Sentinel with all its reports of people finding Christian Science. Just remember the Spanish Catholic priest who came to a lecture in Spain, where besides the lecturer from South America he was the only one not belonging to the local congregation. He took in Christian Science like a sponge, within the next months healed his wife of terminal diseases, became a CS practitioner and now is a lecturer! Then do you remember the Sentinel's story about a year or so ago about the Jewish Rabbi who was in the US because his father was about to die and who passed by a CS Reading Room, walked in, started to ask questions, went home and told his Dad that he was going to be healed, came back to the RR every day because of the love he felt and because he felt that these ladies were praying continuously. His father was completely healed and took charge again of his own affairs. This Rabbi later told his entire family in Israel of what he had learnt - two of his sons are Rabbis plus a son-inlaw, too - and they all told him to continue. He also went through Class -
    Or the other case of a very well educated young woman from New York City who had everything materially she wanted but she was deeply unhappy and was longing to know God better; she had learnt to pray and to listen to God; and one day she walked in Central Park and saw a woman on a bench reading. She was told to turn to this woman. It was a Christian Scientist reading the lesson sermon who was very happy to explain to her what the one Mind = God is. She became a dedicated Christian Scientist.
    What I mean to say is: let's all learn to pray better, more honestly, more deeply, more understandingly, more trustingly. Don't count the numbers! but let us be better qualified followers of Jesus and representatives of Christian Science. We all know that faith will move mountains. Just think what prayer will be able to do!!! Our family has been saved so many times from all kinds of circumstances (war, refuge, illness, etc.) Let's know that Truth advertises itself because it is mighty enough to do this. And when we pray God will show us quite certainly which steps we should do in order to support the demonstration and the advancement of our beloved church. and to be better neighbours ourselves. AND to be more obedient to the Manual of TMC. Just think of the many CSs who still don't subscribe to our periodicals. Which we are meant to subscribe to.
    Thank you every one so much for your love and your deep thoughts about the future of our church. This already is more precious than a big piece of Gold. :-)

  38. Apparently the marketing needs to directed to us, the current members that are just waiting for some one to do somthing. We simply just need to be the healers we know we can be.

    And let us not be taken in by the promotion of the drug and medical industry. They are very successful in convincing the world that their costly highly inefective system is beyond reproach. It seems obvious that the only way to compete with their well funded system is to really practice what we preach. Heal!

    The world needs Christian Science. Let's all do our part to really make it available.

  39. Just his week I downloaded the new ePub of the Bible Lesson to my Kindle ebook reader. One of the best features of having it digital is the dictionary feature. Whether it is the Bible or S&H you are reading, if you don't know or aren't sure of a word meaning,you can move the cursor to the front of the word and like magic, the definition displays at the bottom of the screen. Why shouldn't poor English readers learn from the greatest textbook (Science and Health) we know of, after the Holy Bible?

    The Web sites The Mother Church is supporting and promoting are the best way to reach the world. It is proved by the readership of The Daily Lift from many different countries. And posting The Daily Lift to your Facebook page let's your family and friends know you are thinking of them.

    I have been learning about marketing with social media and our dear Board of Directors is on the right track. It is up to us to further promote what we know about Christian Science to our circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. Broadcast the good it brings. Celebrate the healings.

  40. I'm currently doing the windows for our Reading Room and sometimes use the posters provided by the CSPS. The most successful have been the ones with a simple, applicable message like the one for the book "Healing Spiritually", the one with the athlete and the quote from S&H, "The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible", and the poster for children's books. They've all brought people in who bought those books and others because of what they read in the poster, and the discussion that ensued brought them to church.
    I'd like one that says, "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings."(S&H p.VII).

  41. Re: Nancy's remarks on "being thrown back 400 years to a Bible (that doesn't match with today's indiviual who is seeking solutions to problems which draw our attention, especially those relating to economic and/or spiritual need.

    I am a Reader in a branch church; my work includes engaging with the needs of the congregation and of the community. I therefore choose to read from newer translations of the Bible in the Sunday AM reading and benediction. I have chosen to use the "Good News Bible", which belongs to my daughter. It illuminates and clarifies much of the ancient language in a thoughtful and what I see as a spiritually meaningful way which through prayer
    transforms humanthought into lovingkindess and bold action.

  42. Eddy's marketing plan began with Science & Health. She stressed getting that book into people's hands. There was a previous comment about KJV and Science & Health being too hard to understand. This has not been my experience.

    I've been part of a team who has been gifting Science & Health to the public. We just completed our third year and have gifted close to 6,000 copies. 98% of the people we talk to have never heard of Christian Science. The public love to hear about Eddy's experience that led up to her discovery of C.S.

    Regarding people understanding Science and Health, we've have had people young and old come back and share healings they have had reading the book, many wanting another copy to share with someone else.

    There is truly a hunger out there for the Truth that is contained in Science and Health. Our outreach is focused on Science and Health, we don't share any of C.S. magazines, just the book. This seems to work for us.

    Eddy poured her heart and soul into this book, divinely inspired to write every word contained therein. I'm sure she knew that the book would be read long after she left this experience.

    I trust that when I put that book into someone's hand that it will speak to them, after-all it contains the spirit of Truth, the very Comforter that will teach us all things.

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