Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Turning the tide of Perception

My first series of post on this blog will be about the methods we use to share the message of the cross with our families and our communities. Here is my next thought.

Yesterday I posted about perceptions? Do you know how the community perceives your congregation? If not, you need to find out. This can be done by conducting surveys at local venues in your community. You can also find out by knocking on some doors and asking simple questions. This process does not have to be too scientific just enough to get a general idea. A great resource to find out more is Darren Walter’s book “The People-Magnet Church, Attracting Your Community to Christ.”

Once you know the perception of your community you can begin either changing it or building on it. If you have a bad perception problem take some simple steps to change the negative mindset of people. Do things for the community with no strings attached.

~A Fall Festival with games, food, candy, and even door prizes or costume contest prizes. Make the prizes something people can really use, i.e. gift cards to Walmart (no I am not getting paid to endorse them), iTunes, or McDonalds. Provide the community a safe place for Halloween activities

~Possibly even a spring or summer festival.

~Free carwash to the neighborhood. People are skeptical about this, but boy does it help to change perception.

~Free Easter Egg hunt.

~If your in a neighborhood or urban setting a block party periodically might be it.
Maybe a cheap babysitting night for parents. Possibly charge $5 to cover the cost of some food and other basic supplies.

I think the key to this is to be creative and to attach no strings. Do what works best for the needs of your community. However, DO NOT preach at people. Show them the love of Christ. Remember this is about perception change, so some things might start slowly, but as more perception changes, the more results you will see.

If you find your community has a strong perception of your church, great, you must build on that. Continue to show your community that you care about them. Continue to show your community that you are there when they are hurting. Continue to be that beacon of light.

Maybe your perception is good, but your presence is not so strong. This is where some good advertising comes into play. Be creative in this. Do door knockers, mailers, and creative signs out front of your building. Get your image into the communities’ minds.

In both churches where I served once perception began to change we were able to begin spreading the message of the cross in more powerful ways. If you work hard at this I believe God will supply great benefits.

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