Author Topic: Death of mainline protestantism  (Read 25369 times)

Scott5

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #285 on: August 11, 2008, 08:49:10 PM »
What I believe the Spirit has called me to do is to put forth this idea in public forums so that others might see it and be convinced, and ultimately those in Chicago (or St. Louis) who make the decisions about such things will pick up on it.

You should contact St. Louis and run it by them.  Have you come up with a name for the process yet?  It should be catchy.  And hot.  So that it could spread like a fire fanned into flame... Hmmm...  Anyone have any ideas for naming this new-fangled, hither-to-unknown proposal?

 ;)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 08:53:16 PM by Sc ott Yak imow »

R Lewer

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #286 on: August 11, 2008, 09:08:07 PM »
LLL,
 Actually, we have done all the things you have suggested. We have done even more, including co-ordinated campaigns through the L.L.L. with ads, pamphlets, congregational involvement and the LCMS has done a campaign of 30 second spots on the major cable channels.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #287 on: August 11, 2008, 11:29:59 PM »
I apologize if I have not made myself clear. My arguments throughout have not in any way been directed against mass media or coordinated, large scale efforts to make people aware of our church body or local services, or what-have you. What I argue against is the idea that if something can be shown to "work" in some instances, that it is therefore justified. Often the negative ramifications cannot be nearly as easily quantified. I do not consider post cards, radio ads, tv ads, or any way of spreading information to be necessarily good or bad. But I do think gimmicky things are more negative than positive, and I have given my definition of gimmicky upstream. That's what I have been talking about all along. If the subject was merely use of mass media, I'm all for it.

Layman Randy

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #288 on: August 11, 2008, 11:33:27 PM »
What I believe the Spirit has called me to do is to put forth this idea in public forums so that others might see it and be convinced, and ultimately those in Chicago (or St. Louis) who make the decisions about such things will pick up on it.

You should contact St. Louis and run it by them.  Have you come up with a name for the process yet?  It should be catchy.  And hot.  So that it could spread like a fire fanned into flame... Hmmm...  Anyone have any ideas for naming this new-fangled, hither-to-unknown proposal?

 ;)

Well, even the Apostle Paul had to go back and run a few ideas past those guys in Jerusalem  ;)

Thomas Byers

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #289 on: August 21, 2008, 02:12:21 PM »
So you invited the neighbor to worship.  But even a "simple" liturgy can be confusing and off-putting to those unfamiliar.  We also must realize that only the most venturesome will, on their own, pass through those massive, forbidding oaken doors.  You could as well have a moat around it.  tb

Scott5

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #290 on: August 21, 2008, 02:20:03 PM »
You could as well have a moat around it.

Oooo.  Sounds like fun.  If we could add crocodiles and maybe a hippo name Augustine (get it, get it -- I croc myself up), then it would be really cool.

Yeah, I know.  I better stick to my day job.  :(

Charles_Austin

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #291 on: August 21, 2008, 03:50:17 PM »
Scott writes:
If we could add crocodiles and maybe a hippo name Augustine (get it, get it -- I croc myself up), then it would be really cool.

I say:
My day is complete.

Brian Hughes

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #292 on: August 21, 2008, 04:04:33 PM »
I apologize if I have not made myself clear. My arguments throughout have not in any way been directed against mass media or coordinated, large scale efforts to make people aware of our church body or local services, or what-have you. What I argue against is the idea that if something can be shown to "work" in some instances, that it is therefore justified. 

 Everyone here should read the book, unChristian before deciding to expend resources on mass media.  If their data is correct, I think it fair to suggest a large, coordinated mass media effort would work strongly against actually bringing anyone to church who is under the age of 28.  Indeed, it would probably insure there's no way they'd ever visit a local congregation branded by the adds.

 BTW, does anyone know if the UCC "we're more tolerant than thou" campaign got them anything?  From what I remember reading, their national attendance dropped further after those adds appeared.

Brian


DCharlton

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #293 on: August 21, 2008, 05:06:45 PM »
I apologize if I have not made myself clear. My arguments throughout have not in any way been directed against mass media or coordinated, large scale efforts to make people aware of our church body or local services, or what-have you. What I argue against is the idea that if something can be shown to "work" in some instances, that it is therefore justified. 

 Everyone here should read the book, unChristian before deciding to expend resources on mass media.  If their data is correct, I think it fair to suggest a large, coordinated mass media effort would work strongly against actually bringing anyone to church who is under the age of 28.  Indeed, it would probably insure there's no way they'd ever visit a local congregation branded by the adds.

 BTW, does anyone know if the UCC "we're more tolerant than thou" campaign got them anything?  From what I remember reading, their national attendance dropped further after those adds appeared.

Brian



I'm not surprised.  When I was a ELCA mission developer in south Florida in the late 90's, most of the other mission developers, whose marketing techiniques were much more cutting edge than mine, had abandoned mass mailings.  They had stopped working. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

racin_jason

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #294 on: August 21, 2008, 05:28:58 PM »
An ELCA church in my area of atlanta did a pre-easter mass postcard mailing to every address in its zip code.  The cost: around $7,000.  The result: 2 visiting families who said they came to worship as a result of the mailing. In my wish-list-world, that's half a van to bring people to worship in.

The non-denominational churches in my burb regularly send out the expensive glossy color postcards. The mailing must be working for somebody.
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Lutheran_Lay_Leader

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #295 on: August 21, 2008, 05:48:54 PM »
When I worked for a leading mail-order company in the 1980's, we tested a wide range of direct mail pieces. What we found confirmed what the high-priced consultants had already told us. It's not the medium you use to deliver a message that matters so much as what message you deliver.

I posted much of this in another thread, so that saves me having to re-type it.

There problem with relying only on "friends inviting friends". Like it or not, there is still a tendency within America for people to make friends mostly with people with whom they share common cultural backgrounds and values. I'm sure the participants in this forum can list dozens of anecdotes about how many people have a diverse portfolio of friends. That's how exclusive country clubs remain exclusive. When membership is be invitation only, the membership can be counted on to recruit mostly new members who would fit right in because they're so similar to the people inviting them.

Anyone who is honest about reality has to have observed that despite the fact that people might have a more diverse collection of friends than was common a few decades ago, for the most part, when Lutherans invite their friends to their church, they're mostly inviting more people of European ancestry. And before anyone assumes I'm thinking the worst, I'm also taking into account the modern aspect of American culture that says "respect other peoples' religious beliefs, and don't push your own beliefs on them". Too many Lutherans (and Methodists and Presbyterians and Catholics and members of all the other denominations) think that it would be "offensive" to invite someone who probably as a result of their racial or cultural background is already a Baptist or Catholic or something else. So, if your goal is to keep out the riff-raff, keeping your congregation "by invitation only" will surely do that.

In today's world of "political correctness" gone amok, expecting people to be proactive about inviting anyone, let alone people of diverse backgrounds, to a Lutheran church is expecting something that just isn't going to happen in large enough measure to prevent the ELCA (and LC-MS and WELS and even the tiny little synods on Pastor Zip's website) from shrinking to near nothingness.

I guess when Jesus told the parable of the sower, and about the Word of God being seed to be scattered around and even though some would fall on rocky ground, or among the weeds, or whatever, some would fall on fertile soil He was just kidding. What He really meant was that the Word of God was like a seed that should only be carefully placed in a nice little pot filled with the perfect blend of dirt and fertilizer.

As for experiences with other attempts at using mass media advertising, I don't doubt that someone wrote a book about how it's wrong to use mass media to "sow the seed" that is God's Word. Name any premise and you'll find that someone wrote a book in favor of it, and someone else wrote a book against it.

Or take something like the recent United Methodist ads, that were so generic that they could have been about a secular health spa. They didn't attract many new Methodists. So that's presented as "proof" that no ad will work.

I presented this idea as a rough draft of a TV ad that I think might work. To the best of my knowledge, no denomination of the Christian Church has ever tried anything as bold yet simple as this:

A spokesman is sitting on the steps in front of a church, talking to the camera. He'd say something along the lines of "There are some people who claim we shouldn't talk about religion in public. I'm not one of them. There's some Good News you need to hear. God loves you. He doesn't want to judge or condemn you. He wants to love you and forgive you. Afraid of going to hell? You don't have to be. God wants to save you. It's not about you accepting Jesus, it's about Jesus accepting you. And guess what? He does accept you. You don't get to heaven because you are good, you get there because God is good. Want to find out more? (Camera pulls back to reveal the church's sign, which identifies it as a Lutheran church) Come and see this Sunday. We're the Lutherans, and you're welcome to visit us any Sunday morning."

Or, same spokesman, same setting.

"Jesus told us that what we do for the least of all, we do for Him. Providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, care for the sick -- God told us to do that, and so we do. It's a little embarrassing to brag about helping others, so we've been pretty quiet about all the help our churches provide for those in need. But sometimes you have to endure a little embarrassment for the greater good. So here goes. Our congregations have been one of the leading providers of aid and assistance to those who need it, but we could accomplish even more of God's work if there were more of us. We need you to join us. Come and see what we're all about, and join us in helping others. We're the Lutherans. You're welcome to visit us any Sunday morning."

I'll sit back now, and let everyone tell me how something like that is just a "gimmick", and that using a method similar to that would do more harm than good.

Kevin C.

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #296 on: August 21, 2008, 06:10:39 PM »
We sent out a postcard about our VBS this summer and got 20 kids from the area that do not come to our church.  I was amazed at the response. 

On a sad note, I was out of town this week (got in late last night), and this may have been mentioned on another thread, (haven't read them all yet), but

our Synodical Bishop, John Schreiber passed away suddenly this past Saturday.  The funeral was today.  I had met him a few times and he was a very energetic, kind, humorous, and caring person.  Please pray for our synod, SE Michigan.  Thank you. Kevin

R Lewer

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #297 on: August 21, 2008, 06:12:46 PM »
Great ads.

The LCMS  did something like that with ads on several of the chief cable channels including, I believe, CNN.  I think this was when Barry was president.

The LLL also did a complete package in selected markets with TV ads, broshures, and congregational identification and follow-up.

Charles_Austin

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #298 on: August 21, 2008, 09:01:06 PM »
George Erdner's proposed ads are great.

TravisW

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Re: Death of mainline protestantism
« Reply #299 on: August 25, 2008, 03:06:12 PM »
I greatly prefer the first ad to the second, personally.  While institutionalized charity is a fine thing, promoting it does little to improve the membership numbers or involvement in an organization that is based around a particular philosophy or ideology.  Just ask most North American Freemasons.