When The Little Guy Becomes The Big Guy

Steven Fogg —  November 9, 2010 — 4 Comments

Darth vader
There was once a time when Microsoft was the big guy. Darth Vader. The dark side of the force. Apple by comparison was the little guy – Luke Skywalker, our only hope. It stood for everything we admired. It was the underdog. Loved. Admired. Respected. A free thinker.

Then something changed.

Apple became the big guy. iPhone. iPad. Whoa. It got really, really big. Bigger than Microsoft. Steve Jobs became a grumpy old man. Firing off emails. Taking Flash out. Reports dripped out day after day of Chinese workers living in bad conditions. Then there were the environmental issues. Phones that were once magical and revolutionary became dodgy and had bad reception.

What happened? A perception shift of seismic proportions.

The little guy was to have been perceived by the wider society to have grown up and become the big bad guy. Unfortunately the same thing has happened to the Church.

The little guy. The counter-cultural community became a movement that changed the world. A Roman Emperor become a follower. Rome followed. Countries followed. Buildings were built. Cultures and world-views were born out of it. Wars were fought because of it.

The Church is now perceived to have well and truly grown up and the world doesn’t like what it sees. Or thinks it sees. Some would say that the church hasn’t just grown up, but that it’s gotten old. Grumpy. Irrelevant. Past it’s used by date.

You see. Whether you like it or not, this is a perception of your church (and mine) by many of what your number one target audience.

Don’t get me wrong. They still like Jesus. But for most people? The church? No thanks.

4 questions for you

  1. What is your perception of your church? Here are 25 factors that shape perception of your church. There are hundreds more.
  2. What is your community’s perception of your church?
  3. Do you have a primary target audience?
  4. If you need to, how will you change this perception? Hint: Everything counts

Question: Why do you think the Church has the perception problem of Darth Vader proportions?

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  1. Church Communications Lessons From The Dancing Guy
  2. 25 Factors That Shape Perceptions About Church
  3. The Power Of Research
  4. The Power Of Focus

Steven Fogg

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4 responses to When The Little Guy Becomes The Big Guy

  1. I only partially agree with what have said. You might have nailed a common perception about Church at a macro scale. However, on a micro scale, individual churches can also suffer from unrelated perception issues. People might believe that the church as a whole is “old, grumpy and irrelevant” (your words not mine), but still avoid their local church because it is too avante-garde.

  2. Wars are never fought over religion – they are fought over wealth, personal glory and power. “Religion leads to wars” is a convenient lie propagated by those who wish to deny the claims of God on their lives. Even the crusades were all about personal glory, and plunder, and new dominions. Sure religion was used to inspire the masses, but the conduct of the crusaders tells us what their motivations really were. It’s time that the church vigorously challenged this false notion rather than apologetically propagating it. Because to acknowledge that war is essentially the outworking of human avarice begs the question: what an I going to do about my own avarice, and what does Jesus offer me on this?

  3. Hey Martin,
    Thanks for commenting. You are right there are other perception issues out there.
    I do think part of the perception problem is that people put every church in the same perception box. They don’t get that the church is made up of so many different people and cultures.
    Depending on your defintion of avant-garde I would be happy if our church was known as a risk taker, unorthodox, radical for all the right reasons. I think most people perceive church to be the opposite.

  4. Hey Richard, I’m don’t think I’m propagating it. The fact is that the Church was involved is THE perception. Look at the view from the outside rather than the view from the inside. That’s the point I’m making.
    Small became big. Big become something it wasn’t meant to be when it started.

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