Seth Godin’s primary field is marketing, but he shares some ideas in his daily blog that must be applied to the church. In a recent blog, he commented on “Marketing to Nobody”:
Nobody wears a watch any more. Nobody wears a tie either. Nobody shops at a bookstore, at least nobody I know.
The market of nobody is big indeed. You can do really well selling to nobody if you do your homework. In fact, most companies selling to nobody outperform those that are trying to sell to everyone.
In my reading, I come across a lot of information about declining church attendance. I also read the comments of some that “nobody goes to church anymore.” Declining attendance is pretty well documented but complete lack of attendance is not. On any given Sunday (or Saturday night), millions will make their way to a place of worship and participate in the services offered there. This provides an opportunity for the church to move these individuals from attendees to participants.
Although I am a strong proponent of the church reaching out beyond its walls, I also realize (as Godin would say) that there are a significant number of folks within the walls who are prime candidates for deeper involvement. If given the opportunity, they can become committed and involved disciples.
The staff ministers of our church are taking seriously the questions to measure member engagement found in Albert Winseman’s Growing an Engaged Church:
- As a member of my congregation/parish, I know what is expected of me.
- In my congregation/parish, my spiritual needs are met.
- In my congregation/parish, I regularly have the opportunity to do what I do best.
- In the last month, I have received recognition or praise from someone in my congregation/parish.
- The spiritual leaders in my congregation/parish seem to care about me as a person.
- There is someone in my congregation/parish who encourages my spiritual development.
- As a member of my congregation/parish, my opinions seem to count.
- The mission or purpose of my congregation/parish makes me feel my participation is important.
- The other members of my congregation/parish are committed to spiritual growth.
- Aside from family members, I have a best friend in my congregation/parish.
- In the last six months, someone in my congregation/parish has talked to me about the progress of my spiritual growth.
- In my congregation/parish, I have opportunities to learn and grow.
If a church can help participants to respond positively to these questions, all of those “nobodies” who cross the threshold will come to understand that they are “somebodies” to God and God’s church.