Some Episcopal churches in Bucks County, Pa., are pooling their money to buy advertisements in local newspapers during Advent.
The text is edgier than most church advertising, and that may turn out to be what makes it effective. Keep in mind that Episcopalians account for about one percent of the U. S. population. So if you are in a room with 99 other randomly selected people, you are the Episcopalian. To double the size of the church, you need to lead one other person out of that room with you. Is the best strategy to offer a generalized message aimed at appealing, if mildly, to as many people as possible? Or is it better to differentiate yourself as clearly as possible from other churches, in the knowledge that while you may not be for everybody, you will almost certainly be for some?
Remember, you aren't trying to induce people to buy your soap instead of someone else's soap. (People have to bathe. They don't have to go to church.) You aren't trying to win an election with 50.1% of the vote. You are trying to persuade people that coming to your church is such a compelling experience that they should rethink their attitudes, rework their schedule and spend a Sunday morning with people who, initially, will be strangers to them.
It may be that a little edge is essential to this task. Here is the text:
Come for Christmas…and come as you are.
• Are you tired of being judged?
• Are you divorced?
• Are you GLBT?
• Have you had an abortion?
• Have you been wounded by religious folks?
• Do you disagree with your church’s conditional love?
• Are you hungry for acceptance?
• Are you a sinner who’s just longing for God?
• So are we.
The Episcopal Church Welcomes YOU!
R.S.V.P. The Episcopal Churches of Bucks County