My grandmother takes the Great Commission to heart and even though she is ninety years old, she asks everyone who comes to her house one question, “If you died tonight, where would you be going and how do you know?”
Evangelism. It is a fundamental part of Christianity. Many denominations take it to the extreme, “selling” God in a prepackaged box complete with your own Bible. But is all that really effective?
TV evangelists, megachurches and all the life-changing books have one purpose—-reaching others for Christ. All of these are different outlets that some Christian groups have tried to get to average people to catch their interest and let them hear the testimony that will captivate and help them discover Christ. But with many books left on the shelves and people skipping over religious channels faster than if they were commercials, Christianity is branching out and looking for newer outreach tactics. As Christians seek out these new tactics, the question on their minds is, how do you market God to reach more people?
Sharing with the World
The world has entered a new era of technology in which podcasts, blogs and twitter are everyday words. Christians need to tap into this resource. Many churches have already established themselves online with their own Web sites, but how about utilizing Facebook as a social media network, recording a sermon and putting it online as a podcast or even sending out an e-mail newsletter or invitation to church events? Part of reaching people is meeting them where they spend most of their time, which, in this day and age, is increasingly the Internet, the final frontier. The world is globalized, and as society is more interconnected, why not reach more people by using a tool anyone anywhere can access?
Reaching a Target Audience
Another public relations must is building relationships, keeping in mind the target audience. As Christians try to reach people, they need to meet people where they are, and not just technologically. While inspirational books are inspiring to those who read them, is the average non-believer going to pay twenty bucks to learn how to turn their life around? Instead, there are many groups subtly encouraging people to be open to the message and a lifestyle of faith without charging them for it. For instance, Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays, emphasizing church as an important part of a lifestyle. Also, many Christian bands share God in their songs, having the opportunity to reach people as they listen to the music more willingly than a sermon. Furthermore, Christians should impact people. A religious organization on the UA campus this year provided pancakes at one in the morning to an area known for bar-hopping. By keeping the target audience in mind, christians realize they should go to the world instead of letting the world come to them.
Bringing the Message
One of the most important ideas of public relations is offering a consistent message, being open and honest, looking for two-way communication. Christianity is known not only for its televangelists, but also unfortunately for its hypocritical followers. If Christians are striving to reach people, they need to bring a consistent message to the table. St. Francis of Assisi once said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” It all comes down to living intentionally the life of love Christians profess. Christians can establish relationships by investing time in people so they know they aren’t a mere number on the list of believers. Christians shouldn’t be afraid to listen to what others have to say. Public relations assures us that two-way communication is a necessity. Christians aren’t going to make any progress if they just tell others what to believe. Every testimony and person is unique, and so is his or her reaction. Christians can instead show that there’s something more to live for, and reaching others through love will reap its rewards.
by Molly M