I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday. We met at one of the best places to meet, second only to the 'bou. So, I grabbed my triple grande latte and then was given some help realizing that I met Scott on the wrong day. Our meeting was supposed to be Wednesday and not Monday... sorry Scott. He was generous enough to let me steal an hour and a half of his day off (thanks). Our conversation was wrapping up as we came across a topic I love discussing.
How are we, as the church, reaching people?
Are we attracting people to church or are we pursuing them?
What are the pros and cons of pursuing or attracting? Pursuing is a way of life in youth ministry. We have an incentive for everything... bring a visitor once in your life and you'll win an iPod. Pursuing seems to compromise the values of our message. Maybe a compromise is done unknowingly, but pursuing is more about getting the "person" and less about the "message". When we are attractive, there is something desirable in us that draws that person to want what we have.
I met with a group of youth pastors a few months back where we discussed this topic, Josh blogged about it. Bill Daily shared some marketing essentials. Bill's worked for Gatorade, Mastercard and Oakley as the VP of marketing. Now he's doing the marketing at Purpose Driven. Bill had some amazing thoughts on marketing your ministry. He verbalized this tension between attracting vs. pursuing the best I have ever heard. Here is what he had to say about it:
1. Don’t assume that you know the audience or what they want. You are most likely not going to get it right.I still don't quite know how to do this right. Maybe some of you out there know some things I haven't discovered yet. But, I love discovering the process of making your life and ministry "attractive". Making everything about it attractive... the smell, the look, the feel, the atmosphere... everything. How is that done? I think there are a small number of churches that have figured this out.
2. Understand the world the student lives in. Subtly grab a small piece of territory and connect with them.
3. Understand their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.