Quick: Name one advertisement you’ve seen recently from Tesla Motors. Now: name any advertisement you’ve seen from the company, ever! Tesla’s marketing strategy is as disruptive as its business model. It lets you and me advertise for them, for free. Tesla does not spend millions of dollars [on] a traditional ad campaign. They let you and me discuss their product, rave about it, hate on it, or rejoice in the spirit of going electric in a Tesla, and be the catalyst to a viral and brilliant marketing campaign. At the end of the day, Tesla pays little to nothing for their “advertising.”
How can this help the church?
As someone who has been active in the church for many years, I know that when someone is excited about their faith, they are actively living as an apprentice of Jesus. When their lives are being changed as they walk with Him and study his Word, they want to tell their friends. When they love without judging, are helpful and accepting while being honest when needed, when they genuinely care and forgive because they’ve been forgiven, others are drawn to Jesus. And they want to share.
A growing disciple, someone who loves his or her church because the church is the source of growth and family, is a disciple that doesn’t need to be told to invite friends to church—they can’t quit asking!
Perhaps when we look at outreach and marketing in our churches we should first ask ourselves what are we doing to help our people become the kind of disciples who will share their faith and invite people to church because they are excited with what they’ve found and can’t wait to share it.
What is your church doing to grow people in their faith?
What I’m going to say next might not be terribly popular, but when I ask what you are doing to grow people in their faith, I’m not asking how exciting and contemporary is your worship service, or whether the 15-minute sermon is cool. Those things might be fine and we can all use an hour of upbeat music and a few encouraging words, but that in and of itself probably won’t make an unchurched person into a committed follower of Jesus when life gets difficult and the noise of everyday struggles drowns out their Sunday-joy.
People need to know the spiritual resources they have in Christ. They need to know God’s viewpoint of life and how He wants them to live. They need to know how to take what’s in God’s Word and apply it. The only way they will get this is by studying and applying the Bible.
In the Bible, the Creator of the universe and Savior of our souls talks to us.
Think about that; stop and think for a minute what that truly means. If we really believe perfect love and wisdom are available to us, that the answers we need and the peace we seek can be found, that there is little new that God’s people haven’t experienced and conquered, I imagine it won’t be very hard to get people into Bible studies.
I’ve seen it often: When people start reading their Bibles, when they are taught both the big picture and the instructive details, when they learn, think about it, talk about it and try to live what they learn, their lives change. They get excited and they want to share with their friends. That’s authentic communication!
(This column is adapted from Yvon’s new podcast, Bible 805. Check it out!)