This is part eight in our series on guerrilla church marketing, Power to the Pews.
I went to an event recently that talked about how communication has changed dramatically due to the social media phenomenon and other factors. No real surprise there, but the specifics were pretty interesting. What I took away from it was how much everyday people in the world, versus official newscasters, reporters and local authorities, are now the ones responsible for the news. The guy who led our conference showed a picture of the US Airways plane landing on the Hudson River in 2009, which was the first picture of the event and the first time the world became aware of the near-miracle. Then he talked about the recent Super Bowl when fans weren’t relying on their usual commentators for information; they were running their own play-by-play over Twitter.
In both of these instances, major news wasn’t initially broadcast on the 6 o’clock news only for people to talk about it at the dinner table that night. No, something happened, and then someone took a picture of it or said something about it, for all the world to see. From there, as many people who were interested then reacted, commented and made it major news.
I was totally intrigued by this guy’s presentation, nodding my head and thinking to myself, “Wow, yeah, I guess that’s right… crazy!” Meanwhile, the guy who sat across the table from me was in no way moved. “Duh,” it turns out, was what was on his mind. He shared how he’s technically the “authority” of high school sports, working as an ESPN high school sports reporter, but his job is in no way about telling the world what happened at such-and-such football game the way it would have been had he had the job only five years ago. Day in, day out, he converses with thousands of sports fanatics over live chats and Twitter. He talks high school sports; he doesn’t really report on them anymore.
If you think about it, the same is true in the worlds of fashion trends, popular T.V. shows, politics and more. People don’t want to be told what’s going on anymore; they want to be a part of the conversation. They want to talk too.
I wonder what all this says to us in the church. What’s our role in conversing with people? Do we ignore the “ways of the world,” demanding that they listen to “authority,” or do we embrace and follow a new model with the hopes that people might engage with their faith in a new way? I think there’s great potential in doing a little bit of both.