Thinking Outside The Glass

One of my biggest gripes with most churches is that they tend not to think outside the box, so to speak. If we advertise at all, it’s usually in a relatively “safe” environment like the “religion section”  of the local newspaper. Some churches have even branched out into bulk/direct mail. I am proud to say that my church, Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, Ct  is now advertising on glassware at a local bar.

I checked with our Communications Director, Lisa Siedlecki . She told me that the glassware salesman approached her with the idea of putting advertising on glassware that he would be put in a  local bar and would she think the church would be interesting in sponsoring one of the ads. After consulting with the Senior Pastor and the Outreach Pastor  the decision was made to go with the glassware ads.

The response has been great according to Siedlecki, She’s been approached by people outside of the church, who ask if that’s really her church that’s on the glass. The reaction inside the church has been positive as well.

I really like the idea of advertising on the glassware. It’s different, particularly for a church to advertise or even associate by name with a bar. That association doesn’t necessarily mean endorsement, but it does create an interesting relationship. The fact that people have noted that they’ve seen the ad means that on one level it is working. Usually ads on glassware, table mats, and coasters are used to build name recognition. At the same time, response is traditionally not high. Any direct response to ads like this can be considered a win.

Advertising does create some questions for churches and other christian associations. Should we be concerned where we advertise? Should we be concerned with the association that the ad makes with the place where the ad is seen? Does the churches ad indirectly promote alcohol consumption and even alcoholism?

These questions are never easy to answer. My belief is that we need to go where the un-churched are. Traditional methods may not work well in a society where methods of communications are changing rapidly. Even in the past 15 years our ability to communicate has gone through massive upheavals. The very words that you are reading would have not been possible 15 years ago. I know some may quote the verse “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” but that has nothing to do with how we spread the Gospel. Some types of evangelism just don’t work because our culture has changed.  Door to door evangelism and street corner evangelism just don’t work anymore.  Suburban bedroom communities where there may not even be street corners to preach from.

Does advertising in a bar endorse drinking or alcoholism?  As with the other ads on the glass, there is nothing in the copy that endorses alcohol consumption. This establishment does serve food as well as alcoholic beverages.  In a broader sense does advertising in a newspaper endorse the views of the newspaper? Looking at it in that context, I would have to say NO.

I get the feeling that Jesus would be proud!

Published in: on 05/29/2010 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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