Excellent motion graphics driven video on the The Ten Commandments from Vit Ryznar.

The Ten Commandments – motion (kinetic) typography from Vit Ryznar on Vimeo.

Can you imagine if the some of the sharpest and visionary minds in the church communications world got together a gave one single thought that would help your church communicate better?

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My Church has been on Facebook for sometime now. One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for some time now is to create a custom Facebook landing page for those visiting our page for the first time.

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In part one of The Communication Strategies Of Jesus I wrote about how Jesus was viral in his communication. Today I would like to talk about another regular strategy of his communication style.

Stategy #2: Jesus told stories using culturally and socialogically relevant word pictures

Jesus often used terms and phrases from local industry that everyone could associate in because probably many of them were connected to those industries. They all lived in the context he was describing. He used the word pictures often to reinforce his point. He spoke about sheep and shephards, sowing seeds in soil, wise and foolish builders, servants, lost son, vine and the branches, the bread of life and tax collectors to name a few.

Everyone knew what he meant. There were no communication barriers here, because everyone had some kind of connection to the word pictures he was using.

Well duh I hear you say. Nothing new there. Obvious.

Yet today I still hear so many communicators speak in the same agricultural terms, the same local social and cultural terms as if they were still speaking to the same people two thousand years ago.


What would it look like if we brought all of these into the 21st century. When we are telling the same stories what word pictures would we use to get across the word picture Jesus was trying to get across?

How would you change the word picture? What examples of socially and culturally relevant examples have you used when you communicate?

Follow me on Twitter, come and say G'day on Facebook, get regular updates via my RSS feed or stalk me in person in Melbourne (you'll have to do the leg work on that one).

First post in a blog series about the strategies Jesus used to communicate in his day.

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Hello ladies.

Now look at your church. Now back to me. Now back at your church. Now back to me.

Is your church an Old Spice church? Is mine?

Let me rephrase that.

I was blown away by the original thinking and creativity in this TV ad. I've been thinking about about the creative projects that I've been working on over the last month. I've been asking myself – are my ideas original. Are they standing out, are they serving and amplifying the mission of the church. 

How about you? How is your creative output?

I'm not saying that doing creative like this will make your church smell sweeter than a romantic millionaire jet fighter pilot, but I am insinuating it.

There is a small town in Canada having huge problems attracting tourists. The mayor has asked for help. It’s a very beautiful destination, full of happy locals. But no-one will visit. Why?

Well, its because the town’s is called Asbestos. Yep. I know what you’re thinking. But its true.

Is it possible to make Asbestos a place you’d like to visit?

A brilliant Australian TV program called ‘The Gruen Transfer’ has developed some adverts to help encourage people to visit the town (in a tongue in cheek kind of way). Check out the two TV creative executions selling the town (Warning: there is some bad language in one of the TV spots).

Churches often have a similar problem. They have a name that really sucks. Yet for some reason they think that their odd name will attract those from their wider community.

Here are a few that I’ve come across:

  • Little Hope Baptist Church
  • Original Church of God, Number 2
  • Boring Seventh Day Adventist Church (Led by Elder called Dull)
  • Waterproof Baptist Church
  • Country Club Christian Church
  • James Bond United Community Church (which has no association with St. Martini Lutheran Church ;-)
  • First United Separated Baptist Church
  • First Church of the Last Chance World on Fire Revival and Military Academy
    (Thanks to Neil Cole for the list)

Unlike the town of Asbestos, churches can do something about it. Here are some smart tips:

1. Get approval about changing your name before you even start thinking about any names (whatever your church law requires you to do eg. Board, Elders or congregation).

2. Pray about it. Uh oh, I just got all spiritual. Well yes.

3. Avoid names that only insiders will understand.

4. Decide if you are going to be a local or regional church.

5. Don’t copy other church names - Don’t be a carbon copy. Be original!

6. Does the new name lower barriers to entry into your church or help?

7. Check to see if a domain name is available and buy every variation around your name.

8. Understand that renaming your church isn’t a magic bullet for growth.

9. Put an agreed timetable at the start of the project and stick to it.

10. Pay a professional to develop your new name and create your new identity. There are plenty of really good creatives out there who love Jesus. Let them lead you with creative strengths which will allow you to focus on leading the church with yours.

How about you, what tips do you have to share?

The story about the Russian 'deep cover' agents has been all over world news last week. They were allegedly trained by Russian Intelligence in Moscow and sent to spy on America. Their mission was to infiltrate policy making circles and send back intelligence to Russia.

Imagine a senario where deep cover agents infiltrate your church. Their mission is to report back to their puppet master and dish up what is really going on at your church. Not what you think is going on, but what is really happening.

Imagine to my surprise when I came across a real life puppet master who sent his secret agents into churches – not to spy and use it against churches, but to go undercover and use it to serve the vision and the mission of that church.

This service to churches includes an eye on everything:

  • Your church’s website
  • parking lot
  • foyer/lobby
  • nursery
  • facilities
  • signage
  • restrooms
  • overall feel and a main focus on the worship experience including music
  • technology/media and preaching.

About a month or so ago I came across a guy called Greg Atkinson. Greg oversees a ministry called 'Secret Shopper'

The corporate world has used for years the idea of mystery shopper. This is where a 'undercover brutha' or 'sista' (I've always wanted to use that word in a blog post) uses the service the business offers. The undercover brutha then writes a report about their experience using a pre-determined report that is then handed back to the client to reveal their areas of strengths and weaknesses.

Why is a secret agent/secret shopper so important? I've said before that perception is everything. That it is not about how churches see themselves that really counts, but how others from outside the church see them really matters. Secret shoppers or undercover brutha's will help you see yourself how others see you.


Have you every used a secret shopper? 


I've been a church communications guy, aka church marketing guy for just a few short years and I've been giving away some of the books that I've found formative in my thinking. Church Marketing 101 by Richard Reising is another one of those books. 

Just like the last two week's book giveaway (week 1, week 2) I think Church Marketing 101 is so good that I'm putting my money where my big Australian mouth is. I'm giving away a copy of the book.

Complete these two simple steps and it could be yours:

1) Retweet this message or post it to your Facebook page: ' I'd love 2win a copy of Church Marketing 101 by @richardreising via @stevefogg http://bit.ly/b7nslp

2) Leave a comment below including your Twitter handle or Facebook link so I can contact you if you are the winner. It would be great to hear from you on how it could help you in what you do. 

I'll be announcing the winner on Saturday 10th July 2010 on this post (EST Australia Time). For the rest of you, you can buy the book here and here. PS. I'm stumping up the dough for this. There is no behind the scenes marketing going on. It's just a great book.

(Richard blogs at Beyond Relevance, twitters at @richardreising, you can find a DVD resource on his book site)

******** The winner nominated by random.org is…. @sodgers CONGRATULATIONS!!!! ********

:: Follow me on Twitter, come and say G'day on Facebook, get regular updates via my RSS feed or stalk me in person in Melbourne (you'll have to do the leg work on that one).

All churches have a voice. How your church chooses to use your voice is your choice. But you will be known for it. Do you want to reinforce or break the stereotype of being a Christian is all about?


What you'd expect

A different kind of demo


What you'd expect

A different kinda money


What you'd expect

A different kind of politics


What you'd expect

A different kinda of preacher

What reinforces the stereotypical church or breaks the stereotype for you?

What other perceptions do you think people have of Churches and Christians?

Follow me on Twitter, come and say G'day on Facebook, get regular updates via my RSS feed or stalk me in person in Melbourne (you'll have to do the leg work on that one).