The coffee house near my home is the perfect place to gather with people and enjoy meaningful and sometimes dangerous conversations. Recently, I have noticed a flood of “coffee house” opportunities with seemingly more people concerned about the condition of the world and their lives. People are looking to dialog and discuss things like the economy, politics and religion more than ever. I truly believe the uncertainty in our world has people asking, talking and listening more than ever.
While at the coffee house recently, I ran into a friend, let’s call him Mr. Quad Shot, since most people know him by his choice of drink anyways. Mr. Quad Shot owns a well-known business in our community. We started talking about the economy and how it’s impacting his business. He shared that last year he cut his marketing and advertising expenses by more than 75 percent, so he wouldn’t have to let any of his workforce go. To me, it seemed like the honorable and right thing to do.
Then he told me it was a mistake. I asked him why and he said because marketing and advertising is the lifeline of the company, without it the business can’t be successful and it can’t grow. So I asked Mr. Quad Shot what it all means. His response, “I now have to do something more drastic and it will most likely cost me a huge chunk of my business and several people will lose their jobs.
In this economy, many churches are faced with similar circumstances and decisions as Mr. Quad Shot. Giving is down, budgets are shrinking and leadership is in the difficult place of having to make cuts, these cuts impact people and ministry. Unfortunately, like Mr. Quad Shot, many churches are cutting their marketing and advertising expenses first.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about cutting things like four full-page newspaper ads, multi-color scripture skywriting, and four-color bracelets with your church name and logo on it. No, I am talking about the church’s greatest advertising and marketing plan, evangelism. For the Church, evangelism is our lifeline and reaching a lost world is what we are called to do.
Evangelism is at our core, and it’s the only way the church can move forward as an organization. In fact, The Great Commission tells us that this is what we are called to do, “to go out and make disciples of all nations.” The problem is that with evangelism there are costs. It costs us time, energy, comfort, money and resources. Yes, vision costs us something; sometimes it costs us a lot. If reaching lost people is a part of your vision, then dollars and resources need to go to it.
I always say that a vision statement is only a vision statement until it’s properly resourced. If you’re a planter, pastor or in position of leadership and are currently looking for ways to cut the budget, then please rethink how your decisions may directly impact your ability to reach lost people and move your church forward. Yes, you are fighting for your church’s lifeline!
The uncertainty around us may be God’s way of getting our attention. Maybe God is gently saying it’s time to look for new opportunities and ways to increase your evangelism effectiveness in the midst of an economic downturn. These are tough times where tough decisions need to be made. As you look to the future look for ways to do more with less. Here are four simple and effective ways to accomplish your evangelism goals while doing just that.