Many have seen the ChristianMingle.com
television commercials and taken pause at the boldness of their “Find God’s Match for You” tagline.¬† While the tagline has issues, many other marketing techniques of the site far eclipse the tagline’s boldness.
Online dating is a great resource, and I used it myself while single.¬† I have no problem with singles using ChristianMingle.com.¬† As the current largest Christian dating site, I would even encourage singles to utilize this option if they desire, since the chance of meeting someone goes up with the amount of users on the site.
But, ChristianMingle.com is not a Christian business or run by Christians.¬† It’s owned by Spark Networks who first ran a Jewish dating site before branching out into other niche specific markets.¬† I’ve rarely seen a product marketed to conservative Christians by an organization that isn’t Christian. The lack of knowledge in the specific intricacies of conservative Christian theology shows clearly in their marketing ploys.
I’m concerned that Spark Networks’ marketing research resulted in advertising their product through these techniques to conservative Christians.¬† What does that say about the conservative Christians they try to reach?¬† Clearly they’ve done well with their marketing.¬† The site continues to grow, and they continue to invest.¬† You can see their quarterly earnings report on the investor relations portion of their website.
The front page of ChristianMingle.com links to their “Statement of Christian Faith”, more about “The Lord Jesus Christ,” and an “Advisory Board.”¬†¬† The site wants to draw the reader in and give a familiar feel similar to going to your church or favorite ministry website.
The advisory board is comprised of Christian leaders from organizations that many would recognize.¬† It states the advisory board exists, “to provide guidance and feedback…” for their business and website.¬† Which means they don’t have to listen to anything from this board if they decide not to do so.¬† I bet these advisers have little, if any, influence on the dating site and the actual benefit for the business is listing the adviser’s names and organizations on their site.
Does the target audience of the dating site buy into all of this?¬† I really wonder.¬† Maybe most don’t.¬† Maybe they understand that if many other Christians use the site they can also tap into the large database and potentially find a mate.¬† But, I believe the market research shows these tactics increase users.
The kicker is their “Statement of Christian Faith,” which is complete nonsense.¬† It’s set up like a doctrinal statement but does a good job of saying very little while using big words in run-on sentences.¬† I’m weird, but really enjoy reading doctrinal statements, and this is not like anything I’ve seen.¬† All denominations of orthodox Christianity agree on certain beliefs such as the Trinity and Jesus being fully man and fully human. Their statement includes neither.
I bet, sadly,¬† many Christians read the “Statement of Christian Faith” and don’t see these problems.¬† The statement simply lists a bunch of buzzwords conservative Christians like. They aren’t un-Christian buzzwords and phrases, but as a whole, the statement isn’t Christian.¬† If I were not Christian, had no qualms about messing with another faith’s theology and was trying to market to conservative Christians, it’s probably the same statement I’d write.
We need to take a hard look at why these tactics work.¬† Do conservative Christians like reading “Jesus” and “Bible” and want to get married so much that they ignore everything else?¬† It seems true for many who join ChristianMingle.com.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)