Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wanna start a newspaper??? (thoughts sparked by Seth Godin)

Recently, Seth Godin suggested that a business should start a newspaper. This newspaper would be a compilation of articles that the staff would compile. It would then be sent out to people in the community. Seth’s main principle is to “own your zip-code!” When I first read this I thought it was a great idea! The purpose of the paper is two fold, first to give the community a source of information about the community, second you’re building relationships with the community.

I think that every church should be an expert on its community. It only makes sense. If we’re in the business of transforming the community, why not do everything you can to learn about your zip? If churches spent more time learning about their community then they’d be in a better place to minister to them. I think a church staff spending time researching and being in the community, only good things would come out of this.

The idea of church marketing is for some a big negative. I see it as able to go either way, meaning it can be done in a proper way or it can be done in a negative way. I have seen churches spend thousands of dollars on mailing things to a church or churches attempting to create an image by creating a marketable image. This in some way is deceptive, because either its creating a false image of who the church is in order to bring people in.

On the other hand, I know of a pastor in Lexington who walks around his community, literally going door-to-door. He’s meeting people, inviting them to church, letting them know that if they have any needs his church is there to help. This is marketing. There is no getting around that fact. One could say he is doing it for ulterior motives, and he is, he wants people to be a part of his ministry – he’s just framing his marketing in a proper way.

Have you ever asked yourself why the "Promised Land” is Palestine? Do we realize that this strip of land is half desert, half mountain, half in the middle of no-where without water? It’s not exactly paradise. Egypt and Mesopotamia were both better options, but Palestine had something that they didn’t have – major trade routes. You see God placed his people in the middle of the trade routes between the two major powers of that day. The whole nation of Israel is an attempt by God to market himself to the world.

This is where we come back to the idea of the newspaper. I think that it would work for churches to take this sort of approach to getting to know their community. It is the church showing the community what its values are – we celebrate this type of person. It is the church saying, “We are the type of people who want you to know the people that live near you.” Perhaps it’s the church marketing itself, but is that a bad thing?

Why not make a newspaper for people in your community

4 comments:

Phil Strahm said...

Interesting Thoughts...My first reaction was that many churches do Newsletters. But, in reality these are more self-serving promotions of what we can offer the community, which is good, and includes lots of info on events and maybe a few personalized messages.

However, everything has to be on the church's time...maybe a newspaper with real articles on faith, culture, money, etc would make the church seem more caring and real and create better community.

That and personally being in the community and at the events!!!!! This week I'll have been in the high school for 4 completely different events!

dan said...

Phil,
i guess I don't just want to make the church seem to care about other people, but to actually care about others! ;)

The problem is that for so long all of our ministries have focused on our own needs. Not the needs of our communities. Read through the church bulletin, ministries for people in the church heavily outweigh the ministries that are for non-members

Perhaps a newspaper could be a nice gateway action towards changing this in the church community...

Phil Strahm said...

I agree on what you say..

The newspaper is an interesting idea.

And if a newspaper was posted periodically (say once a month) it could also have a website on the printed publication with more frequently updated info (say once a week)...

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