I must tell you — I love technology.
As I write this, I’m sitting on my back porch, enjoying a gorgeous first night of spring, while listening to a radio station beamed directly to me via a satellite from New York City and surfing the Internet via a wireless hub one of my neighbors apparently set up.
Now if I could just get my dogs to quit trying to lick my face, life would be grand.
And what’s even better, with Belton’s new Wi-Fi network sprouting up, I could be sitting anywhere in the city doing this same thing in the near future.
As I was surfing the web last week I came across a website that has captivated my attention: www.churchmarketingsucks.com.
If the name doesn’t catch your attention, many of the entries or blogs should.
I think I’ve spent three or four hours over the last several days reading through the site.
Now there’s probably many of you who are immediately turned off by the title of the site, and for you there’s the alternative, www.churchmarketingstinks.com.
And there may be more of you who are offended by the subject matter, for you — sorry, but I think the site developers are on to something.
The writers on the site raise some very interesting questions.
Why is it that Christianity has the greatest message ever, but we have the hardest time sharing it with the masses, or even our neighbors?
“We love the Church,” said Brad Abare, founder and regular contributor to the site. “But when it comes to communicating with an increasingly savvy world, the church is being left behind.”
I think the church in America has had a spark lit under it recently with The Passion of the Christ, but how many people are still sitting in a theater wondering about Christianity because no one has stepped up to explain their faith in a real way?
“This is a conversation, an idea — not a business,” said writer Kevin Hendricks. “We’re in this to see the Church become more authentic and effective, to see not simply butts in pews, but Christ in hearts.”
In December Wired Magazine reported a story about a high school computer teacher who made a complete advertisement on his computer for Apple’s iPod.
The commercial made by high school teacher George Masters has all the makings of a prime-time quality advertisement.
And his 60-second commercial has been getting a lot of attention from bloggers, e-mail, advertising reps and now Wired Magazine.
Gary Stein, an online advertising analyst with Jupiter Research, was struck by the quality of the ad.
“It shows great advertising principles,” Stein told Wired Magazine. “He’s computer-literate, but he’s also literate in the language of advertising…. You could take this thing and put it on MTV this afternoon. It’s not only good, it’s good advertising. People go to college to learn this. He just gets it.”
“Why would a school teacher spend a good chunk of his free time, for five months, crafting a really slick ad for no money? For no real recognition other than a, ‘Hey, that’s cool,’ from a few friends? Because he really, really likes his iPod,” wrote Andy Havens. “Masters frankly admits that he partly worked on the project as a way of teaching himself some computer animation basics, and to be part of a portfolio. That being said, why pick the iPod mini as his subject? Because he’s a huge fan. And let’s remember that ‘fan’ is short for ‘fanatic.'”
I think every pastor or lay-leader would love members of their congregation to be that fanatical about church events or activities.
I know I would be.
Why is it that people will spend hours creating a commercial for a small music gadget, paint their entire bodies and lose their voice while screaming for their favorite football team, but can’t spend an extra hour volunteering at their church?
The Church Marketing Sucks staff would say it’s all about marketing.
We haven’t marketed our message properly to our own members, yet alone the rest of the world.
Have you ever witnessed the excitement a new convert has? They’re willing to do anything and tell everyone about what Christ has done for them.
When I met with WWE Superstar Shawn Michaels last week, he said that when he came to know Christ, he told his pastor he wanted to do anything needed at the church, including janitor work, if that’s what was needed.
But somewhere along the road the message gets lost.
Christ just isn’t as cool as the first day we met him.
We lose track of what He’s really done for us.
My dad’s told me several times, “It’s just easy for me to talk about everything God has done for me.”
We get so caught up in our daily rituals that we don’t really realize the cost Christ paid on Calvary 2000 years ago. It takes a holy day like Easter to get us back on track — for at least one Sunday out of the year.
Marketing is way more than just advertising.
Marketing is finding ways to make things run smoother and making people feel apart of your company, organization or group.
Apple Computer owners are some of the most loyal customers in the world, I know because I work for one of them.
It’s because Apple makes each customer feel apart of the company.
They make products that customers can truly take ownership in and work in their lives.
McDonald’s is another marketing giant.
It doesn’t matter what country you’re in, when you see those golden arches, you think Big Mac or Quarter-Pounder with Cheese.
Both companies are have strongly branded their message to their audience.
But think about the church, we’re sending one giant mixed signal to the world.
Don’t do this, you can do this, but not that. Don’t attend that church, our church is better.
And I’ll pick on my own church for a moment; we’ve been advertising an event coming up with two different times.
How confusing is that for our members, let alone someone driving by or surfing on the web.
Our website says one thing and our marquee says something different. I have no idea what our bulletin says, because quite frankly I don’t read it. I use the internet to get my information.
But according to the church marquee, I’d be showing up 30 minutes late if I went by the time posted on the internet.
Even last week I had posted the time for one of the events in our singles department on the internet, but someone else gave a later time to be published in the bulletin.
I’m still trying to figure out where the church’s phone number, address, service times or even a statement of what we believe are posted on our website.
We need better communication within our churches — not only between our members, but to those outside our doors.
Why don’t we come together as a body of Christ — for our common goal — to bring people to Christ and show His love to them all?
Why can’t First Baptist, First Methodist, First Pentecostal, First Whoever, join together and say, “Hey, we’re were all a bunch of lost people, just like you, before we met Christ?”
Quit fighting for the largest congregations, quit arguing over theological issues in public that the world will never understand — it’s foolishness to them.
It’s amazing that a number of churches continue to grow, but yet they’re not growing from new converts, they’re simply stealing from other churches.
We must first recognize the power of Christ in our lives and then market it to everyone around us.
We need to each become fanatics in our faith. Live a life that Christ lived and share His love with everyone.
Well it’s getting chilly and I’m sure my neighbors are getting tired of my great rock music blaring into the night air.
So, while I could go on for several more pages, I’ll end with this quote: “The church exists for mission, and — a church that is only inward looking is not truly the church.” -Samuel Escobar, The New Global Mission (via CT)
Watch the full ad now on YouTube: