Zeitgeist (n.) – A German term meaning “spirit of the time.” It refers to the moral and intellectual trends of a given era.
Unless you’re a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins, the term isn’t exactly in most of our vernaculars, so I thought we would get the definition in there. In the midst of taking over the world, recently Google released its annual year-end Zeitgeist. It’s essentially a function for taking the pulse of trends via what folks Googled.
For example, in 2007 we saw the rise of “iphone,” “facebook” and “second life.” We saw the fall of “world cup,” “kazaa” and “shakira.”
The Zeitgeist goes beyond single search strings, though. These don’t always fulfill the “moral and intellectual trends” in the definition. Thus, we have the Zeitgeist “Top of Mind”. This looks at the top “Who is … ” “What is … ” and “How to … ” queries. That’s where we come in.
In the top 10, we see “Who is God?” and “Who is Jesus?” Oh yeah, and there’s also “Who is Satan?” There are 107 billion (plus or minus a couple) people who have lived. Plus another 342 million non-human or fictional entities. For these three to be in the top 10 is a pretty big deal. People want to know about Christian figures.
Folks are also asking “What is love?” and “What is RSS?” (RSS is a personal friend of mine, so I had to include it.)
The point of all this? Some don’t like the idea of marketing their churches. But people are asking questions that only the church has the answer to. Ideally, they can find these answer through friends and loved ones. More likely, they’ll turn to a church. You have a message worth sharing, and you have people looking to hear it. Those are two incredible reasons to market your church as a a place people can come to find the answers to the questions people are asking.