I just finished reading Meatball Sunday by Seth Godin. Let me say this up front... it is no wonder that the guy has his own action figure! But who is Seth Godin and why on earth would a pastor read a book on marketing? Let me answer those two questions with one simple answer:
I think Seth Godin is one of the best and innovative Sociologists of our day and if you relate with people, commune with people, or are a person who likes people, it would be a good idea for you to at least hear what they (Sociologists) have to say.
The age old question in the goods and serves industry is one of quality verse quantity. Seth argues that this is now a moot point. I won't go in to detail, though he does... shameless plug, but he lays out rather succinctly the reasons for the shift. It is called NEW MARKETING, and if you don't think it affects you, you're wrong.
"But I am not in the goods and services industry!"... wrong. You are more involved than you could possibly imagine.
Those in the business world (and my church planting buddies around the globe) should pay close attention to the following from Seth's "intro":
This is a book about the right question. Not "How do we use the cool new tools to support our existing structure" but "How do we become an organization that thrives because of New Marketing?" (p xii)
Simply: you can not put new wine in old wineskins. Now, when Jesus said that He was talking about the nature of the Gospel as opposed to the Law (we will examine this in our study of Galatians). But make no mistake about it... times have changed... people have not... but the way people think and socialize most certainly has. Hence New Marketing... and it explains why more churches are beefing up their websites and lots of pastors (myself included) use facebook and Twitter to minister to people. [I started using these tools because that's where folks did a lot of interaction... Seth's book helps to explain why.]
So what is New Marketing? In a nutshell, New Marketing is a more focused marketing. In an age where you do not have to put up with being interrupted by commercials thanks to TIVO and web-based commercial free Network TV... advertising must take on a new form... one that embraces customer feedback and believes in the products they sell. More than that, in an day when everyone has an opinion and every opinion has a way to be heard, it's a good idea to listen to those voices.
Here's the fundamental shift that I hope every marketer [and might I add, every customer] will understand: For the first time ever, blogs convert readers and viewers into writers. (p 77)
It's true. You are reading proof of it right now. If you don't think that is significant (for both customer and business alike) consider this:
Every business has a group of customers so motivated, so satisfied, and so connected that they want to tell the rest of the world about you and what you do. Your challenge is to give them a megaphone. (p 84)
I am in NO WAY calling the church a business, but this same principle applied, in part, on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The Apostle Paul also understood this (2 Timothy 2:2). There is a segment of every community, family, or clan that is more vocal about this or that issue. What Seth is proposing is that,while these voices may have gone unheard decades ago because of a lack of attention, today they have tremendous value.
Ok... one more quote... THE QUOTE!
Here's the lesson: "Go big or stay home" is bad advice. There are no fairy godmothers. If you want to thrive, you need to do two things:
make something worth talking about
make it easy to talk about " (p 184-185)
And there it is. BE REMARKABLE! Not just good... not ok... Be remarkable.
I don't know how that last quote applies to your world, but I know how it applies to mine.
Jesus Christ is someone worth talking about and the more I know Him... the easier it is to talk about Him.
(As you can probably tell... I recommend this book.)