- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Are Generous With Their Facilities—The church hosted 14 choral groups from local schools, one scheduled performance every 30 minutes. Because of space issues, most schools can often only invite immediate family to their events. By opening their facilities, the church allows schools to invite extended family and friends. The benefit to the school is they can show their impact in the lives of students to larger audiences. The benefit to the church was because each group was scheduled, there was a maximum flow of people into the church throughout the two days.
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Promote the Arts—Everyone focuses on sports teams, but in Cobb County, 80 percent of the children are in music. Marlon said, “Durham Middle School has over 100 fiddlers and they’re phenomenal, but nobody knows (this) because they can’t invite the public to come hear them. … Any school would want to promote the kids because that’s their product. When you provide a venue, (and understand) how big music programs are at schools and invite them out, look at what you get (over 2,000 on campus at that moment).”
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Must Think Differently—Marlon added, “You got 100 (students) on the football team but you’ve got 220 in the band. I get amazed because churches always want to sponsor FCA, but there’s three times that many (unchurched) kids in intramurals. Go sponsor intramurals. If you catch the FCA kids, you’ve probably got to throw them back because they probably already go to other churches. Go to intramurals where there is 200-300 (unchurched) kids. You can have FCA. I’m going to intramurals.”
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Have More First-Time Guests—With more first-time guests on their campus than at any time during the year, Piedmont Church was able to promote their facilities, programs and services in a loving, non-threatening manner. And as Marlon was quick to remind me, all at no cost to the church.
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Are Financially Generous to Their Community—Piedmont split all sponsorship proceeds with the event’s management company. Piedmont then took their portion of the receipts and reinvested those funds back into the school system. The church made no money on the event. It all went back into the community.
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Love and Serve Business Leaders—Marlon told me, “We’ve got the best crafts. I like crafters because I like entrepreneurs.”
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Create a Positive Buzz—As our conversation concluded, Marlon noted, “When people come here, they have a great time and experience at Piedmont. You can send mail-outs, but you can’t put a price tag on buzz.”
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Add Economic Value to Their Community BIG TIME—We forget this. Churches add jobs. Churches funnel resources into local establishments. Churches utilize the assistance of local businesses. Churches deserve a seat at your community’s table.
- Churches Who Serve Their Community With Excellence Complete Their Community—Do not compete with your city. Complete your city. This part of our city does not have an organized Christmas event. Christmas at Piedmont provided an opportunity and venue for our entire community to come together.
In conclusion, I want to thank Marlon for his time. I am already looking forward to the 2015 Christmas at Piedmont. It will only get bigger and better. More businesses. More schools. More guests. More ministry impact.