Today it is my honour to do my part for the “Tribes” – group blogging project that was started by John at Churchcrunch. We will be looking at pages 30-35. I am a pastor and as a result of this my perspective on these pages is “biased” by my experiences. In “Tribes” Godin is speaking to organizations in general. I want to apply today’s pages specifically to the church.
Godin’s definition of a fan is: “a member of the tribe who cares deeply about you and your work.” Every church wants to attract these types of fans but sometimes it is easier said than done. A big part of attracting fans (in general) is marketing. According to Godin “ideas that spread win” but not just any idea will spread. Godin says that people “want novelty and style and, most of all, stuff that’s great.” He also says that good enough is not good enough anymore. It is boring and not worth seeking out. Sadly many churches make the greatest message in the world boring. This is truly a tragedy. The challenge for churches is to keep the message novel without compromising it. Many churches are pushing the envelope on novelty (some for good and some for bad). It is hard to know where to draw the line. The message NEVER changes but the METHODS in presenting it should. Churches must be prepared to use the methods that are available to them to spread the message BUT they must resist the temptation to get stuck in those methods. Just because it works today does not mean it will work tomorrow. I love how Godin puts it: “The tactics are irrelevant, and the technology will always be changing. The essential lesson is that every day it gets easier to tighten the relationship you have with the people who choose to follow you.” Lesson learned: use the methods at hand to market great ideas that attract fans but don’t get stuck in those methods.
Attracting fans is one thing; keeping them is another. It is not hard to draw a crowd. With some good marketing you can get people to attend almost anything. But as Godin says: “too many organizations care about numbers, not fans.” Sadly, this is very true for churches too. Some churches have great marketing and lots of novel ideas. They can get people through the door BUT the big question is: Do they stick around? Godin says: “True leaders have figured that the real win is turning a casual fan into a true one.” For churches, this means seeing those who are far from God becoming mature followers of Christ. This is a process. To accomplish this, churches have to be intentional and purposeful in what they are doing. Churches must help people move along the path from “far from God” to being “mature followers of Christ.” It is not going to happen by chance. Lesson learned: the goal is not a crowd but committed fans – this takes being intentional and purposeful.
How is your church doing at attracting fans? What creative methods is your church using? How is your church doing at keeping fans? What is your church’s process for making mature followers of Christ?