Itís Knowing How to Say It

By Anthony D. Coppedge
Contributing Writer
July 06, 2013

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"Vegas has nothing to say, but they know how to say it," says Ed Young, Jr., Founding Pastor of Fellowship Church (my home church), "and the Church has everything to say, but typically doesn't know how to say it."

Boy is that sad but true!

Because I travel and speak at various conferences all over the United States, I inevitably find myself in "Sin City" attending one of the large tradeshows that only seems to fit in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The "strip", as Las Vegas Boulevard is known, is festooned with neon, LED, LCD and Plasma signs by the thousands. Not to mention the marquees and huge signs on every hotel, or the mobile advertising trucks that drive up and down the boulevard with their electronic signs promoting the latest show or event.

Vegas certainly knows how to get the message to its audience, and it's like no other place I've ever been.

You know what? That's called marketing. Marketing is the word considered unspiritual by many church leaders, as it smacks of being in the world. We can be in the world but not of it, as the Bible teaches, and use marketing. What? Is that double- talk? Nope. Why not? Because Jesus used marketing.

Jesus the Marketer?
According to Dictionary.com, marketing can be defined this way: "To deal in a market."

What market was Jesus in? He was in the market of winning followers. He had a product and a service, as He told parables (stories) and offered eternal life with the Father. That's about the best lifetime guarantee one can get!

Jesus had a message that He wanted others to act upon - a marketing strategy, you might say. And He used the tools of his day - mostly, the spoken word, but also a body of water from the bow of a boat as a PA system or a hillside for an acoustically beneficial amphitheatre. And people came by the hundreds and thousands to hear his pitch.

He even used the sales technique of loss-leaders to keep people from leaving when they got hungry by multiplying some bread and fish to feed thousands on at least one occasion.

OK, I'm being a bit melodramatic, but the point is this: Jesus was a world-class communicator who knew how to draw a crowd and keep them interested and involved. So what is your church doing to draw a crowd and keep them interested and involved?

How do you say it?
If your church is like many others, you're using the same methods that the church used back in the 1950's and 1960's: A sign outside the church with a trite phrase ("Get right or get left!"; "Turn or burn!"; "Testify or French Fry!"), or maybe an 8 1/2" by 11" colored piece of paper containing the latest Wednesday night dinner menu and a few blurbs about weekend service times, folded in half and mailed monthly/quarterly to the three zip codes closest to your church.

It's time for a change.

How about digital signage that promotes family events, singles' get-togethers, youth and childrenís' field trips and upcoming topical, thematic sermon series? What about running ads in the local movie theatre with something other than a photo of the church building or the stuffy picture of your Pastor and his wife?

How about, oh, I don't know - let's get crazy - actually promote how we can meet the needs of a world that's searching for answers to life's tough questions and not another church where they aren't a part of the established clique? Am I stepping on some toes? Let me press down a bit more.

Get Creative!
What would happen if your church took the concept of using the communication methods and technology tools of today and applied them with the same creativity and zeal that Vegas uses to grab their audience?

No, I'm not suggesting slot machines in the foyer. I am, however, talking about engaging the senses of the unchurched. Hook 'em with something interesting and creative, and then keep 'em coming back with relevant, life application teaching and life changing ministries that reach out and say "we just want to help you right where you're at."

Now that would even outshine the lights of Vegas!









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