I've put off writing this for a long time because it was so upsetting to me, but you won't find any Back to Church Sunday communications on this site anymore and the ones I had in the past have all been removed because Outreach Marketing trademarked the term and demanded I remove any of my communications that had the term (even though they were given away for FREE) from my site.
I did not respond well to their email telling me this.
I asked if they were planning on trademarking Christmas and Easter next. I went on:
The Southern Baptists came up with the idea--not you. You decided to monetize it and that's fine, but to keep others from sharing is wrong. I don't charge anything for my resources--I know you have some resources for free, but what inspired me to create what I did is that I felt what you offered for free was poorly designed and did not appeal to a broad enough audience.
I did go on to ask for clarification and they replied that NONE of YOU can use the term "Back to Church Sunday" in anything you create either. You have to use ONLY their printed matter if you want to use the phrase "Back to Church Sunday." You can say something like "Come Back to Church" but you can't use the term "Back to Church Sunday." They own it. If you use that term you will be breaking trademark law.
He said you could get some of their material for free and offered the link.
At the risk of sounding sour grapes (and it may be, but I'd decided this long before they sent me the email) I'm not providing that link because I think the material they created this year is very poorly done, particularly with their theme for the year "You belong here!" Most people I know who don't go to church wouldn't appreciate anything with a message like that. They quit going or don't go because they don't feel they belong and some postcard with people jumping in the air (one of my most hated church images) doesn't seem like compelling motivation to me to get people going. That aside.....I again replied and thanked them for the clarification and went on:
It is still so terribly, terribly sad to me that Outreach did this. That getting people to return to church should be hindered in any way, that the almighty dollar should rule over and limit sharing the good news of the Almighty God is a tragedy.I know there are reasons and I can imagine it went something like this....."if we take over the marketing of this from the Southern Baptists, we need to protect our whatever......"I am reading in the Old Testament about the history of Israel and what happened when they turned away from the Lord and trusted in other sources for protection. It wasn't good.Imagine if Outreach did something like, "Here is our design -- if you don't have time or resources, love to have you use it--but if you come up with other designs, ideas, SHARE THEM! Let's all share, encourage each other, and pray God will greatly bless!"But we won't know, will we?