I “attended” a webinar with Scott Vaughan www.svministry.com yesterday on the subject of promoting church events. As always Scott had practical stuff to say on the subject. His main point for promoting an event is to follow this formula:
The Right Message to The Right Audience by The Right Method at The Right Time.
A good test he suggested was to ask yourself, “Would I attend this event if someone else was putting it on?” If the answer is “No”, then don’t do the event. He also suggested that you make it fun, know your audience, start on time and finish early, think first class but don’t over do it, and always try to add value by offering a little something extra. This last point reminds me of Seth Godin’s great little book “Free Prize Inside” http://www.sethgodin.com/freeprize/.
Another good point Scott made about “knowing your audience”, was that you can’t move the audience closer to where you are, you need to move closer to where the audience is. Learn their language, understand their hurts and needs, and change the way you do things to win them. I pass by a particular church just about every day. And weekly (or I would suggest weakly) they change the message on their sign. The messages are always those Christian gobbledy-gook sayings (technical term) that are amusing to believers but nonsensical to anyone else. You know, stuff like “God receives knee mail.”
Do churches really think anyone on the outside is going to move closer to attending their church based on these goofy unintelligible sayings? (I think I’m about to get myself in trouble here.) Instead, why not talk to the people in your community, find out what they need, plan something that meets that need, and put that on your sign!
I was readying an interesting article about an archeological dig going on in the region that was populated by the Philistines in ancient Biblical times. http://news.yahoo.com/israel-diggers-unearth-bibles-bad-guys-095524724.html What struck me in the article, as in so much secular writing, is that any historical reference related to the Bible is suspect, while all historical references to people, places or events from outside of Israel are assumed to be true.
The amazing thing in this particular article is that everything they are finding lines up with the historical Biblical record. And yet they suggest that Samson, David and Solomon may or may not have been real historic figures. Of course, they do not question whether Nebuchadnezzar or Aramean king Hazael were real people (even though much of the evidence for their existence comes to us through the Bible). This secular bias ignores mountains of evidence from hundreds of years of archeological finds throughout the Holy Land.
I don’t know how many times recently I have heard it said that the church in America is counting the wrong thing. This message mostly comes from those in the Missional Church movement (a movement I like). My problem is that they have a tendency to overstate their case. Just today I was reading in Mike Breen’s blog: “The problem is at the end of the day, the only thing that Jesus is counting is disciples. That’s it. He doesn’t seem to care too much about converts, attendance, budgets or buildings. It’s about disciples…”
I’d agree with Mike that Jesus wasn’t too big on budgets and buildings – but Jesus didn’t care about converts?!? (Read Luke 15 for a bit about how Jesus felt about converts.) Jesus cared very much about converts. The whole “it-ain’t-about-numbers” crowd has obviously not read the early chapters of Acts (3,000, 5,000, etc.). I know what they are getting at. It’s not enough just to usher people into the kingdom, we need to disciple them. But ushering them into the kingdom is a big deal! I’m trying to find an example of angels rejoicing over the discipleship process. I read twice in Luke 15 about angels rejoicing when a sinner steps across the line of faith.
All prophetic movements have the tendency to overstate their case to make a point. But this particular overstatement has been repeated so often that people are treating it as fact. And people are adopting this over-emphasis on discipleship as a way to justify a lack of need for churches to bring the good news to the lost.