Thinking Out Loud

March 10, 2012

GCB: Great Commission Baptists?

Filed under: Church — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:05 am

I’m not a regular reader of the Baptist Standard website, but I have been following attempts by the Southern Baptist Commission (SBC) to change their name to something more marketable, in light of declining attendances, memberships, and — what matters most — baptisms.

But as the article points out, this is a denomination where splits can occur over the color of the carpeting or the money spent on the new church organ:

There also were strong currents running against a change, however. Some objections were rooted in an emotional loyalty to tradition and culture that can make a debate over repainting the church walls into an occasion for schism.

“We believe that the equity that we have in the name Southern Baptist Convention is valuable,” said Jimmy Draper, head of the SBC task force. “It is a strong name that identifies who we are in theology, morality and ethics, compassion, ministry and mission in the world. It is a name that is recognized globally in these areas.”

In other words, “We’ve always called it this way.”

The article mentions a few other brand changes including some that are pending:

Campus Crusade for Christ, the worldwide ministry started in 1951 by the late Bill Bright and his wife, is this year introducing a new moniker, “Cru,” that some worry could become the “New Coke” of evangelical Christianity.

Elsewhere, evangelical leader Tony Campolo has taken to calling himself a “Red Letter Christian” because he worries that the evangelical brand has become too politicized. The rock-ribbed Christians at Bob Jones University in South Carolina have been looking—so far in vain—for an alternative to the “fundamentalist” label they once wore so proudly.

Mormon leaders are also making a push to have the church called only by its formal name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because they feel the “Mormon” label can be derogatory or raise undesirable associations with polygamist splinter groups.

But then the article strikes gold.

The word “Mormon,” like “Southern Baptist,” has strong name recognition and immediately conveys a clear image—both valuable assets. If that image is not the one you want to project—for example, a …survey showed 40 percent of Americans have a negative impression of Southern Baptists—then you have to figure out why rather than just slapping a new label on the same old product.

(emphasis added)

At which point, we’d be done with this story, except for this delightful ending, the kind of thing some writers wait years for:

In the end, all the Southern Baptist task force could do was offer an unofficial alternative, “Great Commission Baptists,” for congregations that want at least something a little different.

It seems unlikely the “GCB” moniker will win out, but an evolutionary approach to re-branding can work; International Business Machines effectively reinvented itself as IBM, and General Electric did the same by switching to GE.

Uh…was nobody watching ABC television last Sunday night? Or reading about it in the newspapers?

You can say GCB stands for Great Commission Baptists if you want to, but launch it right now, and all you’re going to hear is Good Christian Bitches.  Why any Baptist insider would include that paragraph at this time — the post date is Thursday, March 8th — defies logic.

October 26, 2011

Wednesday Link List

So what’s your take-away from today’s cartoon?  It’s from the book God is Dog Spelled Backwards by Julia Cmaeron and Elizabeth Cameron; not for sale at your local Christian bookstore.

  • The Seattle Mars Hill church (Mark Driscoll) decided to go after other Mars Hills churches to try to protect its brand.  But then the church realized its reaction was a little over the top.
  • Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter becomes the latest Christian author, signing a two-book deal with Zondervan.
  • The Occupy London protesters forced the closing of St. Paul’s Cathedral mostly due to fire concerns.
  • Speaking of the UK, a man there writes on his Facebook page that he believes marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman, and next thing you know he’s demoted at work with a 40% pay cut.
  • If you have an iTunes account, you can click this link for an interview with Steve Carr, the founder of the non-profit Flannel film company that produced Rob Bell’s NOOMA videos and Francis Chan’s BASIC series.
  • Paul Crouch, Jr. has left the family business, aka The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) to “pursue other work.”  The departure was rather sudden.
  • Americans can donate to missions at the left click of a mouse; but as the U.S. dollar slides against foreign currencies, overseas mission projects are hurting for funding.
  • In one of his best pieces to date, Trevin Wax imagines a somewhat ideal media interview with a pastor on the homosexual debate.
  • Lots of rumblings from the Calvary Chapel churches over the visits of the ever-controversial Jerry Boykin to various CCs, mostly because of Boykin’s Jesuit connections.  While this website looks somewhat sensationalist, it does contain a lot of documentation,  perhaps this one boils it down more concisely.
  • Josh Wiley collects 22 Awesome C. S. Lewis Quotations.
  • Comedian Tim Hawkins has Three Requests for Worship Pastors.
  • October 31st: JesusWeen.  Seriously. Someone came up with this.  To non-Christians it’s a bit of joke.  To Christians it’s somewhat unnecessary.
  • October 31st: Hell Houses.  Russell D. Moore has seven reasons why Judgment Houses or Hell Houses miss the mark.
  • It took presidential hopeful Michelle Bachman only a few days to note that presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s “999” economic program is simply “666” upside down.  She remarked, “The devil is in the details.” Jeremy Myers examines 666.
  • Just in time for Reformation Sunday: Zac Hicks’ worship song including the five “solas” Sola fide (pronounced “FEE-deh”) – faith alone; Sola gratia (pronounced “GRAT-see-ah”) – grace alone; Solus Christus (pronounced “KREE-stoos”) – Christ alone; Sola scriptura (pronounced “skrip-TOO-rah”) – Scripture alone; Soli Deo gloria (pronounced “DEH-o GLOH-ree-ah”) – to God alone be the glory. (Don’t forget to roll the r’s.)  Click the audio player in this link.
  • Insert your link here.  Seen something online this week that I missed?  Add your suggestion to the comments.  Note that not all links will posted; anything commercial or inappropriate won’t be accepted.
  • With apologies to Margaret Fishback Powers, I thought we’d end with an “almost” version of Footprints.

February 19, 2011

An Outreach Piece The Smallest Church Can Afford

I first presented this here two years ago, but I remain convinced that it’s an inexpensive mailer concept that can be done by even the smallest church, and one that will especially resonate if your church is located near a mass transit line where people spend hours each week sitting on subways or light rail with their faces stuck inside a newspaper.

It’s a mailing piece that costs virtually nothing to produce, in fact it might work better the closer you can get to black-and-white, photocopy quality. You can also do a four-color enhancement of the idea with background gradients and even a photo of your church on the back page. Furthermore if you actually did photocopy them, you could target individual streets or blocks.

sudoku-flyerThe mailer is a simple 8.5 x 11 piece of paper (an A4 for you Brits) folded in half, producing a four-page layout. Each page contains the grid for the popular newspaper Sudoku game where you fill in the numbers from one to nine without repeating any within any given row, column or sub-square. Only on this the squares are all blank, with the first page bearing the text, “Sudoku Blanks. Because sometimes you just want to start all over.”

Talk about hitting two points of identification at once! This concept identifies with everybody who sees it, but for the exception of Canadian pastors I first shared it with who, for reasons I do not understand, do not read newspapers. (Or if they do, they certainly don’t lower themselves to looking at things on the puzzles and comics page, even though this occupies much of the time of anyone in their congregation who rides a commuter train or kills time in the staff lunchroom at the plant, or whatever, on a daily basis.)

The top two-thirds of each page are simply the blank grid as you see it above.

The rest of the piece’s text can be written as needed with as hard or soft a connection between your church and doing puzzles as you wish, In our sample version (available on request by e-mail if you can open a .pub file attachment) the pages read:

Page two:

You’re just about done and then you see it—two numbers the same in the same row, column or box. You try to backtrack a few steps, but eventually you realize the only way to win is to start over. Given the chance for a do-over, most of us get it right the second time.

Page three:

…If only life were like that; if only there was a way to get a new beginning a new start. But really there is; the Christian concept of grace is just that; the board’s wiped clean, everything begins fresh. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can get our record cleared and allow the scars to heal.

Page four:

The concept of grace isn’t widely talked about these days. If it’s new to you, or you want to unpack the meaning of a fresh start, let’s get together and talk about new beginnings.

Community Village Church
Sunday Mornings at 9:00 or 11:00
or drop by the office anytime during the week
555-555-1234
church@email.dot

I know that personal contact is better than mailing pieces, but if you think this has any merit as a discussion starter and you want to use it; just let me know, mail me a couple of souvenir copies and let me know how it works for you. Sudoku continues to be popular, and people will relate to this. It’s a useful piece of paper that may find itself sticking around long after other mailing pieces have been thrown out, and Joe or Barb or Dave might even find themselves making multiples of it on the copier where they work; hopefully with your church name intact. They may even drop by your church office just to pick up more blanks!

March 9, 2010

Timely Church Sign

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:17 am

This is from Living Water Church in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada.   I’m not a huge fan of the whole church sign thing, but at least this one connects to current events.

February 11, 2010

Church Sign Exegesis

David Hayward aka Naked Pastor strikes again!!!





February 15, 2009

Sudoku and the Art of Church Advertising

Today, as a public service, I am going to give away — free of charge — an idea that I have been trying to get churches up here in the frozen north to adapt for several years now, without success.   It’s a mailing piece that costs virtually nothing to produce, in fact it might work better the closer you can get to black-and-white, photocopy quality.  Furthermore if you actually did photocopy them, you could target individual streets or blocks.

sudoku-flyerThe mailer is a simple 8.5 x 11 piece of paper (an A4 for you Brits) folded in half, producing a four-page layout.   Each page contains the grid for the popular newspaper Sudoku game where you fill in the numbers from one to nine without repeating any within any given row, column or sub-square.   Only on this the squares are all blank, with the first page bearing the text, “Sudoku Blanks.  Because sometimes you just want to start all over.”

Talk about hitting two points of identification at once!  This concept resonates with everybody who sees it, but for the exception of Canadian pastors who, for reasons I do not understand, do not read newspapers.  (Or if they do, they certainly don’t lower themselves to looking at things on the puzzles and comics page, even though this occupies much of the time of anyone in their congregation who rides a commuter train or kills time in the staff lunchroom at the plant, or whatever, on a daily basis.)

The rest of the piece’s text can be written as needed with as hard or soft a connection between your church and doing puzzles as you wish,   In our sample version (available on request by e-mail if you can open a .pub file attachment) the pages read:

Page two:

You’re just about done and then you see it—two numbers the same in the same row, column or box.  You try to backtrack a few steps, but eventually you realize the only way to win is to start over.    Given the chance for a do-over, most of us get it right the second time.

Page three:

…If only life were like that; if only there was a way to get a new beginning a new start.   But really there is; the Christian concept of grace is just that; the board’s wiped clean, everything begins fresh.   We can’t turn back the clock, but we can get our record cleared and allow the scars to heal.

Page four:

The concept of grace isn’t widely talked about these days.  If it’s new to you, or you want to unpack the meaning of a fresh start, let’s get together and talk about new beginnings.

Community Village Church
Sunday Mornings at 9:00 or 11:00
or drop by the office anytime during the week
555-555-1234
church@email.dot

I know that personal contact is better than mailing pieces, but if you think this has any merit as a discussion starter and you want to use it; just let me know, mail me a couple of souvenir copies and let me know how it works for you.     Sudoku is huge right now, and people will relate to this.   It’s a useful piece of paper that may find itself sticking around long after other mailing pieces have been thrown out, and Joe or Barb or Dave might even find themselves making multiples of it on the office copier — hopefully with your church name intact.  They may even drop by your church office just to pick up more blanks!

January 2, 2009

So… Why Do You Go To “That” Church?

Filed under: Christianity, Church, Faith, family — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:58 pm

church-center-aislePete Wilson of Cross Point Church in Nashville was driving around on a Sunday morning off; watching people coming and going from all kinds of churches, and wished he could ask them all the musical question, “Why do you go to that Church?” Today on his blog, he did.   Many of his own people are among his blog readers, but the responses still came (and keep coming) from far and wide.

This is one post link where it’s the comments I want you to consider more than anything, and it will take time to skim them all.    Connect to Pete’s blog, Without Wax, here.

Here’s a few random samples to convince you to click on the link:

It’s the presence of God that makes a building ‘church’. I’ve been in a church where God was silent; I’ve been in churches where He dwells. And the people? God knows where our hearts are with Him. He sees the single man committed every Sunday to greet people at the door – and you see Jesus in him; or, it is the man who serves by growing vegetables in fields, harvesting them, and then selling them in the church parking lot, all proceeds going to missions. You see God in Him. Where God may not be is the front row, where people are worshipping the music, the pastor – and not Him

and…

Followed a “holy discontent” for reaching folks who are “far from God” in our community. We’ve been part of a joyous work of planting a church in a small community. Not doing things “as we’ve always done them” which is allowing us to be out of the box for Christ.

and…

I go there for three reasons, in order of priority:

* God called me there.
* I believe in the work we are doing. Lives are being changed.
* I am free to be my true self there. I have authentic community.

and…

I love my church! I’ve been a church goer since the 6th grade and I”m somewhere around a hundred now! I got so burned out with churchy stuff…the programs, the building funds that last for years on end, the pack a pew Sunday, the list of things if you don’t do you can’t be a “member”…I really thought I was done with church, then I walked in His Hands Church and low and behold there’s a thousand plus other burned out church goers! The don’t have a “must do list” and they love you right where you are…

So many great answers… I hope you’ll take the time to give them all an overview.

November 11, 2008

If Starbucks Got Their Marketing Concepts from Your Local Church

Filed under: Christianity, Church — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:42 pm

starbucksWe don’t do YouTube embeds here.   Too many years spent on dialup to do that to some readers.   We also don’t jump on bandwagons.   But if it should happen that you’re the only person who hasn’t yet caught this video*, as a public service I hereby link it for you here.

However if you have already seen the video, here’s some more detail from the producers at BeyondRelevance.com

*I guess you don’t read a lot of blogs, which makes us really thankful that you’ve chosen to frequent this one.

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