Tuesday, January 24, 2012

First it was the Evangelicals,

then the Mormons and now the Catholics. I don't ever remember seeing so many ads on TV for church in my life. It is getting kind of crazy. Growing up in the 80s in northern Iowa, religion really wasn't a hot topic. Most of the area was Lutheran. So much so, that this Catholic girl had NO IDEA that Catholicism was so huge until I moved to St. Louis. There was only one Catholic church in the area, but several Lutheran ones. We were considered in the minority to be Catholic! (so different in St. Louis...). Not until I moved down here did I see my first "Jesus" billboard. Once again my limited worldview came into play and I thought, "how interesting that they would make a billboard out of the Iowa license plate with the word Jesus." Yes, when I was growing up the Iowa license plates were green and white. I totally missed that most highway signs were also that color. It is fascinating to see church marketing evolve from word of mouth/tradition, to billboards, TV, internet, and phone apps. Does this really work? It seems to me that even with all the new ways to reach out, the one that still really brings people in the door is face to face contact. To me, word of mouth will always be the best marketing tool. I have had people come up to me after seeing my UU paraphenalia, but actually talking to me is what gets them in the door. There is a place for all of it, but seeing a friendly face and welcoming smile will always be the best way. Afterall, church is about building real community and relationships.

1 comment:

Bridgett said...

You are so right. TV commercials are never going to make me a Mormon anymore than TV commercials are going to bring someone home to the Catholic church. Especially canned ones like the ones we're showing here-if they were specific to St. Louis (for instance, concentrating on the sex abuse crisis or St. Stanislaus and simply saying at the bottom, "Do you miss your faith? Let's talk."). I cannot see how this expenditure will be worth anything in the end.

People find a spiritual home if they're looking for one. Those who aren't looking aren't going to be interested at all, and those who are looking are likely to join congregations through word of mouth, where your neighbors go, where your friends are. Or, in this day and age, through research (which is what almost made me join the society of friends).