Friday, August 18, 2006

Shock Therapy

I love the new VW Jetta commercials (1, 2). I think it's the best ad campaign I've seen in a long time. It's surprising. It catches you off guard. It makes you think, "That could've been me." Most of all, its message is very clear: Jetta keeps you safe.

Sometimes I think that churches are afraid of being shocking. We're stuck in the rut of predictability: open the service with prayer, 3 songs, a special, maybe a video or movie clip setting up the sermon, a 25-minute sermon, invitation, offering, and benediction. How often do you walk away from church transformed and muttering under your breath, "Whoa."?

I'd like to see more church services that are edgy, unpredictable and creative. I'd like services to catch congregants off guard, make them think, surprise them. I'd like to see churches be creative without losing sight of the message.

As communications professionals, we can launch great advertising campaigns in the community that set us apart and depict us as cutting edge, but if that first time visitor who acts on that campaign comes to our service, will they find what they were looking for?

I'm curious if you, as the marketing/communications director, have any input on your worship planning team. Do you sit on the committee that plans services? If so, what does your input look like on that team? If not, how do you make sure that the image you work to build cooperates and coincides with the worship style of your church?

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