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Learn more about my journey in church and marketing.
Have you ever wondered... What if Starbucks marketed like the church?
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BEYOND RELEVANCE MUSINGS ON CHURCH, STRATEGY, AND CULTURE

BY RICHARD REISING

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RT @DailyKeller: “It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you.” Tue Jun 16 03:14:27 +0000 2015
RT @DailyKeller: “Truth without love is harshness; it may be right but you ignore it because of it's bite. Truth and love together transfor… Thu Apr 09 13:12:00 +0000 2015
RT @DailyKeller: Love is never primarily defined in the Bible as a feeling. At its foundation love is at least a commitment and a promise. Fri Mar 27 19:12:01 +0000 2015
RT @CSLewisDaily: “#Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is modera… Tue Nov 11 03:47:45 +0000 2014
First 5k ever. First selfie without my daughter. :) #secondrunselfie http://t.co/TNe5SK6w9q Sat Nov 01 15:25:31 +0000 2014
RT @DailyKeller: “Anxiety is a daily statement to God saying, ‘I don’t think you have my best interest in mind’.” Thu Oct 09 14:01:58 +0000 2014
RT @timkellernyc: The heart of the gospel is the cross, and the cross is all about giving up power. Wed Sep 17 00:58:27 +0000 2014
RT @CSLewisDaily: "I don’t believe that good work is ever done in a hurry." ~ The C. S. Lewis Bible Sat Sep 13 12:57:25 +0000 2014
RT @mattedmundson: Our captivity to teach should never take precedent over our capacity to learn. #traidcraftAGM14 Sat Sep 13 12:57:04 +0000 2014
RT @DailyKeller: “You don't fall into love. You commit to it. Love is saying I will be there no matter what.” Sat Sep 13 12:56:38 +0000 2014
Very excited to be asked to speak this coming Wednesday on "Marketing God's Way" at Gateway Church http://t.co/PVKc31cGWB Sat Sep 13 12:55:03 +0000 2014
RT @CSLewisDaily: I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everyth… Fri Sep 12 00:41:41 +0000 2014
RT @DailyKeller: “If you don’t preach like there are lost people present, there won’t ever be any.” Mon Aug 18 05:06:29 +0000 2014
RT @timkellernyc: Jonah stands as a warning that human hearts never change quickly or easily even when someone is being mentored directly b… Sat Aug 16 02:19:46 +0000 2014
RT @DailyKeller: “Putting our faith in Christ is not about trying harder; it means transferring our trust away from ourselves and resting i… Sat Aug 16 02:17:19 +0000 2014
In life, there are people you can count on to DO THINGS & people you can count on to GET THINGS DONE—how exactly do you describe the rest? Thu Jul 03 03:07:02 +0000 2014
Excited to share some unique principles on Kingdom Influence next week. Visit if you can. Gateway Church: http://t.co/hlsoLtg05i Fri Mar 28 18:54:21 +0000 2014
Dec 18 11:45 AM

The Video: Speaking Starbucksian

Dec 18 11:45 AM
Dec 18 11:45 AM

There is no doubt that Starbucks has their own language. Tall, Grande, Venti... (Let's call it Starbucksian). For the most part, churches have their own language too. Having your own language is sometimes a valuable weapon in your marketing arsenal, but yielded without planning and precision, it can be deadly to your culture. Basically, it’s a two-edged sword. On one hand, if you don’t know the language, you feel lost and on the "outside." However, if you know the language, you feel "included," special and "in-the-know."

"Code" language is a very insider thing. Many churches will ask, if insider language is a bad thing, why does Starbucks do it? Simple. They want insiders. As an outsider, you learn the secret code by ordering a drink. If you don’t know it, someone is standing right there, looking you in the face and helping you engage your transition between outsider and insider. They are there to even suggest a drink. When someone has a puzzled look on their face, you quickly hear... "Would you like something hot or cold?" "Would you like something sweet?" They are literally trained to identify a newcomer and immediately make them comfortable without any kind of embarrassment. They are "hands on" to steer you into an addictive Mocha Frappucino. After you visit about three times, you are the master. You’ve got your drink and your size down pat. You’re an insider now. The bridge to that point was built very deliberately by Starbucks themselves in an effort to create insiders. Brilliant!

Now, why is this not working so well for churches? One, most churches speak Christian-ese not as a bridge to gain insiders, but as a validation tool with other insiders. AKA: I prove my spirituality in the number of three-syllable Bible words I can say. As churches, we often make it difficult for visitors to understand our code. We don’t have interpreters waiting to greet visitors at the front door, their job solely to explain everything we intend to say. When someone does indicate they might not know our ways, many churches throw them under the bus and make a show of them—asking them to stand up, raise their hands, and fill out forms.

If the visitor tries to follow along, our insider jokes and language—the very stuff that rallies the troops and makes believers feel like they’re in the cool "in-crowd" (the “God is good.... All the time” stuff from the video)—all of those insider jokes just remind them that they’re outsiders.

What's the key? Just that: a key. It’s like a map that you need to read the key to understand the symbols. The key is a bridge. The key is an explanation. Without explanation, you leave outsiders out. Without the barista telling me what the stuff is, I’m lost. With the barista carefully explaining the coded language, I’m on my way to becoming an insider. So, insider language in itself is not the issue unless it is left to resolve with out deliberate explanation.

Make this commitment: never let a service take place where you don’t break down church vocabulary for the visitors present and tell them the story behind our inside jokes. The secret behind this is two-fold: if you commit to it, 1) you’ll build stronger bridges and 2) you’ll get tired of bringing in so much context to all your insider verbiage, that you'll cut it down to the minimum.

As a church, do you have your own language? Do your inside jokes leave an outsider feeling further outside? It’s time to build a bridge. Change your language or commit to bridge-building. Without it, your church might be good at winning over other Christians, but you will leave a lost and dying world dying to know what you’re talking about.

© Richard L. Reising



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Hear Richard Speak

10/04/2016
Gateway Conference
    -Southlake, TX

4/12/2016
UMC Pastoral Network
    -Dallas, TX

11/10/2015
International Conference
    -Fort Worth, TX

11/06/2015
UT Arlington - College of Business
    -Arlington, TX

10/26/2015
Wesley Foundation
    -Raleigh, NC

10/15/2015
Covenant Conference
    - Carrollton, TX

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