Something incredible happens on Thanksgiving. It’s not just a commemoration of that pie for smallpox trade so many years ago. No, the incredible thing is that sincere moment of thankfulness. We reflect back on the year and think, “Shoot, I’ve got it pretty good.” We tell stories, we say thank you, we eat lots of food. How can you not sit back and be grateful with a belly full of turkey?
Churches could steal a simple lesson in marketing from Thanksgiving.
No, I’m not thinking about sleep-inducing piles of food, though that’s a good idea. I’m thinking about thankfulness. It’s a hallmark of good marketing. Why? Because it tells a story. But not just any story—it tells a positive story.
Giving thanks is a thoroughly positive action. Being thankful tells a story of what’s happening in your church, what’s working, what people appreciate. It’s often concrete and gives that warm feeling not unlike the post-turkey stupor.
Turning thankfulness into a communications strategy isn’t even that much of a stretch. It’s actually old school marketing. It’s the age old testimony. Remember back when churches used to be small and people would stand up and share how God has worked in their lives? Sometimes the stories were awkward or theologically weird, but they told powerful stories. Almost always positive, thankful stories of cool things that happened. That sounds like good communication to me.
If you want to try to improve your church’s communication but don’t know where to start, try celebrating Thanksgiving all year long. Jell-O and mashed potatoes would be awesome, but let’s focus on being thankful:
- Work thanksgiving into your bulletin, tweets, announcements and more.
- Instead of just talking about what’s coming up, talk about what just happened. Give thanks and share those cool stories.
- Instead of always trying to plug and promote, let what’s happening speak for itself. Leave room to say thanks for what is happening.
More than anything thankfulness is a change in tone. Remember that full-belly feeling and the contentedness that things are good. While we always have more work to do, improvements to make and areas where we’re lacking, God is also still working and has already done some amazing things. Tap into the power of Thanksgiving by sharing those kinds of stories all year long.