So January’s over. That went quickly, huh?
As we enter month two of 2017, one point of emphasis for 801South at Matthews (the modern worship venue I have the great privilege to lead) is how to best tell our story. Just to clarify…in the church world, we have to use the language of storytelling. The business world may be more familiar with the language of marketing. Those of us in the church world are not allowed to use this term, because it feels dirty. It might be helpful, however, to go ahead and claim the fact that, in a way, we are selling a product to the world…and it’s the best product available.
In my context, I am very fortunate to have many high-level executives whose careers are in the area of business, including marketing and advertising. Getting the chance to gather around the table with these professionals and learn how the local church can utilize some best practices from within the industry is a huge blessing! These men and women are incredibly intelligent and the local church benefits as an organized institution when their passion for Jesus manifests through contributing to how the local church can tell its story.
That last sentence is a long one. Go back and read it again.
As we dive into this endeavor, the first part of refocusing our efforts to reach people with the story of our local church is to better focus our target demographic. If you say that you are trying to reach everyone, then you will more than likely reach no one. Although all are welcome, I believe that every individual expression of the larger church is suited to target a particular group of people.
Once we have determined our target demographic, the next step is to develop a clear and concise message that addresses a tension experienced by the target demographic. I am so excited about the message that is rising up within our community that I think will resonate in the hearts of those we are trying to reach.
The driving concept of this “first message” revolves around the concept of pouring out. I don’t have it completely honed, but when I think about the demographic of our community and with whom I most identify, I think about the concept of being full. Our houses are full of stuff. Our calendars are filled with appointments. You would think that with all of this stuff and all of these places to be, we would be living the dream. However, despite our houses being full of stuff and our time being filled with events, we are not fulfilled.
Why are we not fulfilled? Because we’ve bought into a lie. We live our lives as if fulfillment will come from being filled up. We do because we can. Our culture has the opportunity to fill our house with stuff and to stuff our calendars with activity. So we do. But true life, the abundant life, is found in pouring out, rather than filling up. I suppose Jesus’ words prove true after all…it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The message is so simple, but so extremely counterculture and difficult to live into. When we develop rhythms and patterns of pouring out, we come alive! My dream is to lead a community of people committed to pouring out…pouring out forgiveness, pouring out joy, pouring out compassion, pouring out financial resources, pouring out time for the sake of others.
Imagine the difference God will make in this world through that group of people.