Here is the final post in a series through which I am providing my answers to questions that have been asked regarding the 801South ministry initiative.
First of all, the most popular question is:
Are we trying to be Elevation?
How will this new service be communicated to the target audience?
There will be lots of methods through which 801South is communicated to the community. This includes advertising through marketing vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter, print newspapers, current internal & external church communications, and more.
All of these media are useful tools, but the single most important method through which this ministry will be communicated is mouth to ear. No communication is more effective than a direct invitation or word of mouth testimony. When the communication regarding 801South comes by way of relationship, we have the greatest opportunity for multiplication. Those who participate in 801South will understand (or will be trained to understand) that authenticity is a thin economy in today’s world of noise. Almost all marketing and advertising is perceived as white noise by younger generations. We hate being sold to. We do not want you to tell us why we should buy what you are selling. We simply want to know how what you offer can benefit us. If a friend (or at least someone who I respect) tells me that his life has changed for the better because of an activity in which he is participating, I’m in. Of course 801South is a vehicle through which we will be selling life.
Who will be welcome during this service?
Everyone. Simple, right?
Andy Mineo’s Wild Things is one track that has been looping on my iPhone recently. Mineo spits the following lyrics:
If you catch me in a bar where the wild things are/
With my pastor and an entourage who loves God/
Please don’t think that it’s odd, we kick it ’round broken hearts/
Fishing for men, surrounded by sin but ain’t taking part.
Of course most “wild things” have a misperception of the church and are not setting their alarm clocks to make sure they get a front row seat on Sunday morning. 801South will reach out and invite people to be a part, but more than that, this ministry will be a training ground for people with a heart for people to develop relationships with the “wild things.”
When it comes to showing radical hospitality and being welcoming, each of us as individuals has to answer this question for ourself. I, as a leader, can try to create a welcoming culture, but this is communicated nonverbally through actions (or non-actions) and body language of individuals.
I have witnessed church folks who say that they want to be welcoming, but when given the opportunity, they fail to exhibit the desire with their words or behavior. In borrowing a concept from Brian Zehr, welcoming the outsider is a common value and we use this language within the church, but we lack the behavioral patterns that actually demonstrate this value.
On a similar note, although everyone will be welcome, not everyone will choose to participate, nor will everyone’s opinion be welcome. To quote Seth Godin in describing Ronald Reagan’s leadership capacity, “Reagan’s secret, is to listen, to value what you hear, and then to make a decision even if it contradicts the very people you are listening to.” The leadership will listen to everyone’s opinion, but we will only honor those that benefit the discerned 801South mission and vision.
If you have any other questions regarding 801South, please share them in the comments/reply box below.