Monday Morning Insights

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    Wow… AT&T is acting just like the church!

    Wow… AT&T is acting just like the church!

    Well, today is the day that AT&T has not been looking forward to...  Verizon is has announced details of a new Verizon iPhone today at a press conference.  Surprisingly, AT&T is responding... like most churches respond when they have another church that is gaining traction in their area:

    TACTIC #1: Belittle the competition

    AT&T has a campaign ready to attack the new Verizon phone.  The big thing they'll say:  it's slower than the AT&T version.  (Of course, they'll leave out the bad parts like bad coverage and dropped calls).

    One of the first things churches do when another local church is seeing some exciting things happen is to belittle them.  I've seen it happen over and over again.  And most times, the insults come from insecure leaders.  (Most church attenders could care less, to be honest).

    TACTIC #2:  Start accessing your base like you never have before.

    AT&T is looking at their customers and trying to make sure they have as many on a contract as possible so it's not easy to switch to Verizon. They dropped the price of the current iPhone.  They rolled out some upgrades to entice people to get on a new contract.  Bottom line:  it will now be expensive for many AT&T customers to switch to Verizon, even if they want to.

    Many churches don't really concern themselves with their constituency until that constituency is threatened.  Then and only then, do many churches 'step it up'.  What can we do to get people involved?  How can we keep people here when something else exciting is going on across the street?  Those are all questions asked when a 'rival' church is making headway.

    TACTIC #3:  Improving their network

    AT&T is working really hard to make their network stronger where it is weak.  While AT&T is always making improvements, it seems that they've really tried to step it up before the Verizon announcement today.

    Many churches are the same way.  In a way, iron sharpens iron, and that's a good thing.  But many times the church doing some good things down the road will make another church step it up in ways they wouldn't of if the other church wasn't making some new ripples.

    Is all of this good?  In a way.  Last week, I wrote about Steven Furtick's post on who your church's competition really is.  I still believe that to be true.  However, the quickest way that most churches step up their game is when another local church steps up theirs.

    No one else in the community really gives a care who's church is bigger.  They really don't.

    But it the leaders' mind, it turns into a contest.

    I guess that's not all bad... other than it would be great if the stimuli for better ministry came from a little different source and motivation.

    What do you think?

    1.  Does another church in the area bring you a good feeling, or an unsettled feeling in the pit of your stomach?  Is that good or bad?

    2.  Do you find yourself responding to other churches and ministries in your area?  

    3.  If you have the current iPhone on AT&T, are you planing to switch to Verizon in the near future?

    Love to hear your responses...


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    1. Peter Hamm on Tue, January 11, 2011

      I am almost proud to say that the one church that “competes” with us the most in the area is one we have real good feelings about at this point. Their pastor is a great guy, we partner on a “Church in the Park” event every year, and the “annual exchange of hostages” between our churches is pretty regular.

      In other words… if some real “problem person” were leaving or I “wanted” them to leave, I don’t hope they go there… because I don’t want that fine church to inherit my problem.

      Recently one of their pastors died very suddenly. Our church catered the meal after the funeral for them at our own expense.

      It’s one kingdom. I consider them to be one of God’s multi-sites, just like us. I am more and more thinking of all the churches in our area that way. When we pray before our service on Saturday night, I almost always pray for ALL the churches in our area, not just ours.

      Churches are not our competition. The pre-game show is. It’s why our church advertises in the entertainment section of the newspaper and do NOT get listed in the free church listing every week.

    2. Cliff on Tue, January 11, 2011

      “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” (Philippians 1:15-18)

    3. CS on Tue, January 11, 2011

      “1.  Does another church in the area bring you a good feeling, or an unsettled feeling in the pit of your stomach?  Is that good or bad?”

      I get unsettled because given our town’s recent track history with church plants, very few seem to be actively preaching the Gospel well.  They’ve been focused more on flash, fun, and friendship, and light on truth.

      “2.  Do you find yourself responding to other churches and ministries in your area?”

      I try to reach out and find who they are and what they are doing, at the very least.

      “3.  If you have the current iPhone on AT&T, are you planing to switch to Verizon in the near future?”

      I still use a 1990s brick phone carried in a naugahyde pouch powered by four D-cell batteries.


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