MarketingWeek.com just published an article on Five Trends they believe will reshape media in the coming year. There was an interesting quote with implications for church communications, especially our need to reach out before inviting others in.
“Consumers will call brands out if they think they are driving them to a social platform just to transact.” ~ Darren Campbell, Dr Martens
When a church uses social media, how does it come across to people outside the church? How much of what churches put out there comes across as simply selling something — “Come to this event! Bring your Kids HERE!!!” The bottom line is we want them to buy into what we are selling — we want them to come to know Jesus as Savior, have their sins forgiven, and live a life serving him. But what if our audience has no idea this is of benefit to them?
Here’s an alternative idea: what are the needs in your community? For example, seniors who are lonely with no one to help with basic chores? Use social media to get the word out that your church is willing to give first, to make yourself known before you begin inviting.
One idea might be following the lead of what I saw in our area [where] someone recently started advertising a “trash valet” service in a mobile home park for seniors. Imagine if a church saw the same need: that many of the seniors living in the park were either handicapped or not strong enough to bring trash to the collection site, a quick task for someone younger and stronger. If a church did that for them once a week, not only will seniors sing the praises of a church, but I would imagine they’d tell their kids and grandkids about the church, too! After a few months of that, the church could drop by an invitation to a service or event and at that time it would be coming from a friend, not just a church down the street trying to “get converts.”
There are many ways a church can reach out before it invites people in. It seems like Jesus did a lot of healing and feeding people before he taught them. Let’s pray for inventiveness to do likewise.