This last week an email arrived from an organization that helps churches market themselves. They have some good ideas for selling pizza, but fall short in dealing with a community of faith. Let me explain, first their ideas:
1. People Must Have a Need to Come to Your Church.
Develop a sermon series that meet needs in people’s lives. Remember the top 10 resolutions people make for the New Year. Picking one of them from the list would be a great way to insure you are meeting a need.
2. People Must Believe That Your Church Will Fulfill Their Need.
Publish your sermon titles outlining action steps that meet that need. You must establish a need in their lives then provide the ultimate answer to that need.
3. People Must Decide That Your Church is The Right Church for Them.
List the benefits your church offers them and their families in every marketing endeavor. PEOPLE DO NOT BY (sic) PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, PEOPLE BUY BENEFITS.
4. People Must Decide The Time To Come to Your Church Is Now.
Create urgency with timely sermon series that people won’t want to miss. This is almost a no brainer for the first of the year. THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW...THE NEW YEAR. THE CALENDAR HAS DONE THE WORK FOR YOU.
A pastor's response:
1. People need Jesus. First, last, and in between. Period. Without this simple, but foundational principle, everything else is lost. It does not mean we ignore the other needs of people, such as food, friends, and future; but if we forget this one need nothing else matters.
2. People want a community of faith where they can help others. We live in extremely narcissistic times. Many people want their own needs met and then the church may become a place of division and self-seeking. People seeking a church want a place where their presence is seen as a gift and their gifts have a purpose to be used in ministry.
3. A community of faith is people who would not normally hang out together except for the presence of Jesus. Too long church growth was built on the principle of sameness, birds of a feather flock together. We have tried that, we know it works temporarily and then it does not work. Our most effective communities of faith have tremendous variety and respect between different people. If church just fulfills self-centered benefits then it collapses on itself.
4. People come to faith when the season is right. We can not create that season on a calendar. Few people become faithful due to a new year’s resolution. My experience says people will become faithful to Jesus when a change occurs in their life. It may be sparked by an exterior event, like a birth of a child, change of marital status, employment, or health; but for it to be permanent, it is a change in the heart. It is the Holy Spirit who changes hearts. We pray for the wind of change by the power of God, we do not create the wind by blowing harder.
I hope you see two very different visions. Do you want your Church based on human effort and marketing where the pastors and staff are here to serve your needs or do you want to be a part of a community of faith centered on Jesus Christ? Do you want your church in competition with other churches to provide a better show with greater benefits, or are we a community of faith calling each baptized member into service and selflessness? Do you want your church manipulating people to do what we want, or are we a community of faith “waiting upon the Lord”?
The post was written by Rev. Dr. Danny Wayman
BE A MAN.