Shopping for a Spiritual Home

Good Morning All,                                                                                                              Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Yesterday I was invited to be a part of a breakfast presentation with Eastlink. At first, I was a little sceptical about why I was invited and what, in fact, I could learn.  Now this was definitely a sales pitch on the part of Eastlink and its partners to do with technology. However, as I engaged in the presentation I was struck by the things that are relevant to the church. There are countless conversations, working groups and pockets of people who spend a lot of time thinking and visioning about the future of the church. We continually ask questions like “How can we reach out to those who do not come?” or “How do we appeal to a particular age group.” There is talk of rebranding and what needs to be changed in order for us to thrive in the future. This is, in some ways, very similar to the conversations that are held in business and organizations of all sorts. The presenters this morning shared what is their model of customer engagement and as they did so lights began to go off for me. I could not help but recognize that these are the very questions we should be asking and the things that we should be doing.

Who is the target audience? What is the mind set and culture of people

What are the needs and options for the people. What can we offer that cannot be found elsewhere?Connect with people where they are, who they are – provide for their needs

Keep in touch – go the extra mile

By keeping these things in front of us we can discern what we need to do to reach people where they are and effectively communicate the gospel.

Now I fully understand that this is by no means simple and there is no direct path. However, the presenters also talked about that. They reminded us that even as we discern our target audience there is no way to paint everyone with the same brush. Each person or group of people learns, communicates and acts in their own way. Some are very savvy, experts in what they want and how they want it delivered. They know the product or topic inside and out.  Some are able, people who have some knowledge and are able to navigate things fairly well. And others are challenged, new to the topic and just beginning to understand what is happening.  Again, a light went off!!! In the church we often forget this. We think that we can produce a “one size fits all” and that our worship, in particular, should be able to appeal to everyone. Yet this is not possible and the faith communities of today are different from yesterday. In many ways we are unwilling to change how we deliver what we have to offer whether that be by changing the format or venue or time of worship; learning to speak a new language that is not fraught with our own church speak but uses words and images that intersect with people where they are; engaging and embracing new technologies; or venturing into different musical waters with new hymns etc. As a result, I think we lose.

People no longer come through the church doors because it is the culturally expected thing to do. And there really isn’t denominational loyalty. If they are searching for a spiritual home they are spending time shopping to see who and what can best meet their needs. Some know exactly what they are looking for; some have an idea and have some things they want; and others simply know they are searching and will know it when they experience it. So those of us who are already here and know that what we have to offer is amazing need to be more mindful of how we reach out and communicate this so others may know.

Blessings,
Valerie

Reminders of the Week
Get your Tickets before Friday!!!!!!   Liona Boyd and Truro Youth Singers Friday at 7pm
Office is closed Monday for Remembrance Day

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