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February 26, 2019

Can Multi-Level Marketing and the Local Church Co-Exist?

By New Churches Team

Nowadays, you would have to be living under a rock to never run into someone that is part of an MLM (Multi-Level Marketing).  Studies show that millions of Americans are involved in direct sales, which added $36 billion to the economy in 2015.[1]

MLMs are an advantageous way to earn a side income, allow a parent to work while still being at home with their children, or connect with others with whom you may have not otherwise cross paths.

However, sometimes there are negative associations with MLMs. Perhaps you have experienced a new friendship forming, only to realize that this “friend” is really trying to sell you something. Or, perhaps you continue to feel obligated to buy products from a friend because they need your help and support. It is in these instances that MLMs can get tricky.

Do MLMs Have a Place in the Local Church?

Whether you have had negative or positive experiences with an MLM, a question must be asked: Do Multi-Level Marketing businesses have a place within the local church? We are not saying that those who are involved in selling MLM products are not welcome in the church. However, since developing friendships to make money is a strategy used with MLMs, some boundaries need to be established within the local church.

Church Boundaries and MLMs

First, it would be wise for every church to have a stated or written policy for the leaders in the church regarding their involvement with MLMs. If your church decides that it is okay for a leader to be a part of an MLM, then it may be beneficial to add clear boundaries about recruiting people from the congregation. You do not want your church known for the kind of leaders that speak more about their MLM than they speak about Jesus.

Second, it would also be wise to state that there should be no MLMs at the senior level of the church. Like previously stated, the tie between making money and building relationships is too closely linked. The congregation may quickly become skeptical about the motives of the senior leadership, and that is unhealthy.

It is not to say that MLMs cannot be done within the local church. However, if there is an issue (i.e. when the church becomes the primary recruiting ground or the person is aggressively selling), the problem can be addressed within the framework of the church’s stated or written policy.


Adapted from the New Churches Q&A Podcast Episode 332: How to Handle MLMs in Your Church. Click here to subscribe and listen to more church planting, multisite, and multiplication tips.




New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.


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