Across the nation, denominations are finding themselves in financial and ethical trouble. As they look to maintain a centralized model of connecting individuals with local churches, they face problems ranging from finances to what stances to take on hot-button issues. So a couple of denominations are turning to advertising campaigns.
We looked at this idea over the summer with the Episcopal Ad Project, but will either of these new initiatives go down in history like the pithy copy of the Episcopal Ad Project?
We are Southern Baptists.
The plan: exude confidence and communicate, “Hey! We’re not so bad! Look at what we’re doing!” Throw in some ugly font treatments and that commonly-used “We are” advertising starter, and you’ve got all the makings for an ad campaign to reinforce the status quo. We Are Marshall was inspiring. We Are Southern Baptists? Not the same.
The United Methodist Church is launching their campaign in the spring, but it will center on the question “What if we began thinking of ‘church’ as a verb instead of a noun?” The campaign will roll out on World Malaria Day, April 25th. This is actually a new idea to most people who have been turned off by churches, and I think it will complement their “Open minds. Open hearts. Open doors.” campaign well. Only time will tell if denominations will struggle when they let the cat out of the bag that churches are not actually buildings.