The other week I heard a speaker say that the church needs to be a “go-to people” place versus a “come-to us” place. It has me thinking of 1) our overall ethos as an American church & 2) what can we do about it?
Our overall ethos as a church in America is probably different depending on the people who are in the church versus the people outside the church, so for purposes of this conversation we’ll let you answer that question for yourself. I’m thinking of answering question #2.
To change the “brand” of a church, which I wrap around as the market place identity of an institution or person, and that identity if what others communicate to each other what/who you are. So let’s take ahold of three principles to help drive our churches to change their brands. Note: this is more of a get out and do list, not a bible proof texting list, but if you want that there is plenty of scripture that doesn’t referencing ‘stay in your temple’ (God actually destroyed one because he didn’t like the idea of being contained to a place) or ‘just tend to your own people.’
1) Sharing of Resources: This may seem strange, but sharing and giving of resources is the new goodwill and positive energy generator. People love to lift you up when they feel you are freely giving. Ideas on making this happen: freely giving use of your building to weddings, community events, after school programs, meetings, etc. that do not fall within the ‘ministries’ of the church. People know when you have open, versus locked, doors. Share resources you have from your teaching education set ups, projectors/screens, chairs, etc. Maybe all you have people, that works even better, have your people on an email list that are willing to commit to showing up and helping set up/clean up or just be present to community events. One might say, well how to do recoup an item if it was broken or not returned?.. My retort is, how has a generation of scarcity model treated our church identity?..
2) Participate in Everything: Community events, fundraisers, golf tournaments, high school musicals, whatever it is have your people there and let them be the folks that represent you going out. Make it part of your membership training “We keep a community calendar and we expect you to participate in things that beyond your personal interests. That is a sacrifice and that is serving.” I have gotten used to saying yes to every yearbook and high school sports program that came across my desk. It was/is important to participate and show support to the things that were important to the people of the community I was called to. Being you are reading this digitally, that goes for all the digital mediums. Participate in the community Facebook accounts (not one? create it). Be active in those areas.
3) Recommend Others is Your PR: Be about others and what their interests are. Share what others are doing. This gives them a reason to think of you as someone who cares (which isn’t always an identity churches have, they should, but don’t). Think of this rule of saying/sharing 12 things about someone else before you promote or talk about your own church. That could be digital or in public forum. It is also the new way of networking. In the past the value was to be the hub of a network where everyone had to come through you to get to valuable information. No more, a valuable networker shares their networks freely, connecting folks who compliment other, resources, information, etc.
So there are the talking points and they really do not sound like much, but trust me, they are culture changing and will take intentionality to mobilize if your folks have grown up tending to within the walls of the building.