Stop waiting for them to come to you.

Today was Easter (or yesterday depending on when I post this), one of two days each year that “non believers” feel some sort of guilt for not coming to church.  Need to make their appearance or some other nonsense. I don’t get it.  Any who, today was a great opportunity to pitch your church to potential samplers.  How did you do?  Attendance was up right?  Of course it was, who are we kidding.  It’s like lunch time at Costco.  Hungry customers hitting up the sample carts.  But that’s easy stuff, they just come to you.  Well, people need Jesus all the time, and they aren’t always in the mood for samples. Read more of this post


Capitalizing on the Story

Good press is hard to come by for churches, and generating it pretty tricky I would imagine. But here seems to be a simple formula that makes sense (  

“It’s a way to explain what sort of reverberations you may expect from the verb, the thing you do.  The letters stand for…
r1 = reverberations
v = the thing you do
q = quality of your product/service
b = brand warmth 
r0 = reverberations of the last thing you did”
(See article for further explanation)

For the past couple of years our Student Ministry has done a haunted house around Halloween.  This past year I had the pleasure of helping out with it.  They do a great job of documenting what has been done and capitalizing on the reverberations of these events. Here’s the recap video from the 2010 Terror Maze:

What have we done as a church or church body that we can capitalize on the story of? It’s like doubling your return on investment. Thanksgiving outreach? Big youth event? What are we doing in big ways that reflects Christ?  What are the big events at your church?  Are you documenting them? I want to see and share these events with others.  Going viral should be the goal.  Get the people’s attention and then let the gospel do the rest.

One Church, One Body, One Mission.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently.  As a body of believers we are one church, but we operate on the assumption of defined communities.  This isn’t a bad thing.  We need tighter communities to foster intimacy so we can see real growth in our spiritual walks together.  Communities, or brick and mortar churches, are essential to that fellowship that fosters a oneness in the body.  But, in the mission to reach those who are lost with the message of the gospel, sometimes individualized churches tend to be a hinderance to that mission.  We tend to box ourselves in when thinking of the next big idea for outreach to come out of our respective church communities.  As believers, we have been tasked with a big mission.  Why are we limiting ourselves, we have God on our side.

In the corporate world, everyone wants to keep their ideas to themselves in order to maximize their own profits, not those of their competitors. With-in the church community, this mode of operation should not exist.  Since I’ve been in church IT, I have realized the power in the sharing of information with in the body.  I’ve been blessed with the ability to be in constant contact with other church IT professionals, and the wealth of knowledge is astonishing.  Ideas are constantly being batted around, experiences shared, and minutes used.  Here’s what I don’t understand, why isn’t this being done else where in the church?

Maybe it is and I’m just not seeing it, but if that was the case, wouldn’t we be hearing more about church X and church Y teaming up to reach Z city.  I’ve heard of children’s ministries sharing curriculums, but when you do hear of it people seem amazed by it.  It seems everyone wants to make a buck off their idea.  Yes, we need a source of income, but should that really be our focus?  Well I want to see people come to Christ because of my ideas, let God take care of the money.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be critical of any particular church.  Nor, do I want this to be perceived as a rant.  I’ve seen resource sharing from time to time, but not nearly enough.  I came across this post the other day, and realized they have right idea.  I’m not sure I like the bigger church abandoning their mission, if only temporarily, to support the smaller church, but their heart is in the right place.  I guess this may be an “evangelical” idea, but there are a lot of churches like this out there.  Shouldn’t the big one’s lend a hand to the smaller ones if they share the same mission?  Denominations aside, aren’t we all in this for the same reason?

Again, I’m not trying to say that anyone church is doing a bad job of this, just that we should all be doing more.  I wouldn’t be true to this idea of sharing ideas if I didn’t, well, share it.

Checking in to the movement

Some time between 5th grade and now, four square changed meanings.  You know, the game with four squares on the ground and you have to bounce the ball into the other…… oh nevermind.  It was at least after I worked at a camp during college, because I distinctly remember trash talking some middle schoolers about my mad skills on the indoor four square court.  Now, it seems I’m trash talking coworkers about my foursquare skills, this time though the court is my phone and I’m the mayor. That’s right, I’m talking about location-based services.

Before I dive to far into the subject, I have to admit, I got sucked in.  I’m a chronic checkeriner (If that’s a word? If it isn’t, it will be soon.  Watch out Palin, I’m coming for you.).  I currently hold mayorships in…..(pause while checking my phone).. 7 places.  Also, and the let’s get real here, I was a little sad when I lost my Chick-fil-a mayorship.  Yet, even though I’m doing it, I still ask why and find it completely useless.  Well sort of.

The location-based social networking craze came out of no where and it’s gone crazy.  Just off the top of my head, there’s foursquare, yelp, gowalla, Facebook check in, SCVNGR, Loopt, and many more apps that one can install on to their mobile device. It makes me wonder how someone coming up with a new service thinks they will change the way we click a button to say, “We’re Here!”.  In old school terms, is there a better way to raise your hand to say you’re in class?  Maybe that’s whats next, kids “checking in” at school.  Wait, they probably already do.

I see where retailers can use these services for giving out deals and coupons, we’ve taken advantage of 2 for 1 at Chipotle multiple times. It also makes sense that keeping up with friends is a nice plus, but isn’t that hard with all the service/app options? John’s on foursquare, Seth on gowalla, Mark on SCVNGR, it’s just so confusing.  But what’s the greater use for this?  I mean the technology is cool, but unless a better use is found, it will remain a gimmick and fall to the wayside like a 90’s slap bracelet.  Good news for you is that I think I found it.  It’s in the movement.

My wife noticed that when enough people check in at one location on foursquare that location “trends” to the top of the list so that anyone about to check in to a nearby location sees that trending location first.  Let’s look at this from a church perspective.  Let’s say you are having an outreach event.  Create an event location on any number of these location based services and then have staff and volunteers check in upon arrival.  Your outreach is now becoming a movement in the online social world, trending up across multiple services and reaching audiences that might not normally come to one of your events.  The end result is that, like flies to a bug zapper, people will stop by your event to just see what all the fuss is about.

This is probably already happening to a certain extent without anyone planning it to.  What I’m suggesting is that we be more purposeful with it.  Plan it out ahead of time.  It’s a very simple thing that could have far-reaching effects for your church in what we were put here to do.  So, spread the gospel one check in at a time.

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