Catalyst is making an unprecedented move into the great Northwest. This August we will be hosting our first ever Catalyst event in Seattle, an area that has been stereotyped as resistant to traditional “Christian” events. It’s a good lesson for churches that we need to pay attention to local and regional differences and adapt our communication strategy accordingly. What works in Atlanta won’t work in Seattle. What works in rural Kansas won’t work in suburban California.
Our communication strategy is changing.
We are learning that influence in the Northwest is established over time, slowly, and through an exclusive avenue of trusted relationship. Marketing looks very different in places like Portland and Seattle. Innovative and trendy branding coupled with a shotgun appeal to the masses is not as effective in the Northwest as they have been in other areas of the country. Relationships reign, and trust is not easily given.
A brand will not win influence; a relationship will.
Over the past two years our team has invested time and energy in smaller relational gatherings throughout cities including Bend, Ore., Portland, Seattle and many of their surrounding neighborhoods. Personal face-to-face connections have allowed us to ask honest questions like, “What are your real needs as a leader in this area? What are your greatest challenges in serving your community? What is working? What isn’t? As you understand Catalyst how would you shape what we do and what we offer to meet your needs?”
We are learning to take genuine interest in others and honestly re-assess how we can serve them in their specific sphere of influence.
A few cultural lessons learned from our time in the great Northwest that might help other churches in the region:
- Time Tested – Not interested in the fad or pop culture of church. If it doesn’t stand the test of time and lead to real spiritual transformation then it’s rejected. Must be real, and real as identified by long-term impact. Are you willing to share your life along with your message?
- Patient – A culture that is not anxious or reactive to getting caught up in “what’s next.”
- Success – Success is organic and often looks very different than what is initially planned. Hold your definitions and measurements of success loosely.
- Trust – There is a tension between spirituality and biblical truth—people very much identify with authenticity and trust, and that must be the vehicle of biblical truth.
We want to know how we can continue to serve leaders in the Northwest. Will you help? If you have any additional feedback or thoughts on what leadership development could like in your unique sphere of influence please comment below and/or e-mail me.
Will you join us for Catalyst One Day Seattle?
Our team would like to invite you to join us Thursday, Aug. 26 for Catalyst One Day with Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Judah Smith and Mark Driscoll.
Win Free Tickets
We’re also giving away five free tickets! Comment below with your name, e-mail address, and church/organization by 5 p.m. PT on Thursday Aug. 5th to enter. We’ll pick five winners at random and notify you on Friday.
Thanks! Hope to see you in Seattle…
Update: The giveaway is now closed. Winners have been notified, thanks for playing.