(When I asked Nick the Geek to write another guest post he emailed me back and said that it was going to make fun of me a little. I said, “awesome.” I don’t know if that’s really what I said but I say that word a lot so chances are I said it then too. Nick the Geek is a kind, talented, honest church employee and as such he can write about topics like this one much, much better than me. I’ve never worked at a church but if I did, I’d probably follow Nick’s advice.)
Photocopying whatever that successfull church is doing.
Here at Stuff Christians Like Jon Acuff has proven that we love a lot of silly things, over 500 things to date which is pretty awesome. Of all the things we like I think trying to replicate someone else’s working formula ranks in the top 10. Point in case, this very blog takes advantage of the well known Stuff White People Like blog. Of course it is not limited here. Pastors and lay ministers all across this nation buy books, go to special conferences, and visit other working programs to try and make them work for them.
Of course, this approach often fails and so I would love to give you some tips on making someone else’s idea work for you.
What’s in a name?
When planning “your” new program take time to think about how you will borrow the name from your “inspiration.” If the idea comes from a secular source, such as Stuff White People Like then it is easy, you just Christianize the title. Change “White People” to “Christians” and bam, instant successful blog title. 90% of your work is done.
Now if you are jacking another ministry you can’t be so obvious. Sure every church wants to just take the name “Willow Creek” and watch their attendance grow past capacity. Of course this is just too obvious. You can’t really change just one word either. “Willow Stream” doesn’t have the same impact now does it? You have to fit it to your location. Is there a nice river or creek nearby? There’s your name. If that doesn’t work try mixing up other names from growing ministries.
- Willow Valley
- North Creek
- Saddle Point
With any luck you will get double the growth.
Finally, remember all the popular churches are getting away from denomination names and adopting “community church” so you should too.
“Adapt” the look
Hey you got the name sorted out now you need to look successful. They say you got to dress for success and so does your church. If you are building try and get the same architect as a modern and growing church. Sure we all want the Crystal Cathedral look, but that is much too old to get a relevant boost. Relevance is the key to everything we steal. Don’t waste your time stealing the architecture of Notre Dame, half the people reading the blog think I’m talking about the team Rudy played for instead of a premier example of a European Cathedral. People want cool and trendy so plan on updating your look often.
If you aren’t building then go visit the church and try matching the color scheme. Also feel free to use the logo look and feel. Change it up just a little and you are golden. Designers love to see their hard work on a unique logo and brand identity used everywhere.
The finishing touches
With the name and look in place you are 99% there. This last part is easiest. Try your best to copy exactly what works for other people. Sure you might be reaching to different people and you are completely different, but if it isn’t broke don’t try and fix it.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “don’t reinvent the wheel.” This applies to adopting other programs. Read the books, watch the videos, go to the conferences and then make it work exactly like what you have seen. If things aren’t working then you must have missed something. Go back and review your materials to make sure that you have it exactly right but don’t ever think that you should adapt to your own situation.
If after visiting your material again and again you still aren’t growing, then check the look and name. Remember that is 99% so you could have messed up there.
Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for stealing these ideas. It isn’t the same as stealing real property so that “Thou Shall Not Steal” thing totally doesn’t apply. All Christians love this and we all do it so just run with it because numbers really matter to God more than methods.
So what do you think? Any ministries or non-ministry programs you want to utilize? Have you been able to replicate working models in your church? Are you a part of a growing ministry you would like to see everyone in the country use? Did I miss anything?
Most importantly, how should we rank this on a point system (my research indicates that points add 40% to the humor quotient on this blog)? I was thinking a good start would be:
- Used the exact name -1
- Christianized a secular name +2
- Modified a Christian ministry name +1
- Combined multiple Christian ministry names +1 per name
- Made detailed drawings of the building for your architect +1
- Hired the same architect +5
- Hired the same designer to get a logo and brand with a similar feel +2• Got one of the teens to get the logo off a website image and blow it up for a giant banner +10 (because nothing looks better than a stolen low res logo blown up 100xs)
- Adapted the ministry for your talents and the people in your community -10
- Copied the target better than Xerox +5
- Got a high score on this and still experienced growth +One million points
How did you score?
(For more from Nick the Geek, check out his blog.)