1. A logo
2. A short motto
3. Scrolling graphics
These must be keys to success in American churches because almost all large churches have all three on their websites (see for example here, here, here, here, and Savannah's own mega-ish church here). Denomination doesn't seem to matter.
The interesting and troubling thing is that if you look at successful business websites you will see logos, short mottoes, and scrolling images and/or graphics. The business sites look startlingly like the church sites, and vice versa. Since when did churches begin copying the business model? Clearly, this has been happening for a while.
When we think about what we see of Christ's church in scripture, it becomes clear that the above "Three Marks" are absurd. I'm glad to say that I don't know of any churches that would claim that these three marks are critical for success. Despite this, many churches follow a business pattern in many of the things they do.
If the above three marks are to be rejected, then what might three true marks of Christ's church be? I'll suggest the following:
1. Making disciples
2. Caring for the poor and needy
3. Suffering graciously
These three marks describe a special people set apart by God for his good works. This is not based in a business model, but in an other-worldly model. It attracts unbelievers not through flashy websites but through loving service. It honors God by being different from the world instead of trying to emulate it.
I'm sure that there are churches that both have the first three and the second three marks. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. However, we must be careful to understand that the world's model for doing things is rarely anything like God's model for doing things.
Let's make sure we know which marks are most important.