The truth is always more heroic than the hype. - Jessica Lynch

These days I see churches everywhere using hype to sell themselves. Every event is “amazing”. Every video is “epic”. Every series is going to be “incredible”. Every message is “phenomenal”.

Think about the last conference trailer you saw. Chances are it was shot on a 5D/7D, it was probably filled with “epic” handheld worship shots, it probably used some powerful clips of the speakers who are going to be at that particular conference and finally built toward a HUGE emotional climax.

And guess what, we’ve made that exact same video!

My question to our team lately is why are all these videos the same? Probably because somewhere back there the first one that was made actually worked. Now these videos just feel like hype to me and when the promo for the conference is better than the conference itself, perhaps there’s a problem.

Listen, I get it, we’re excited about our church and what God is doing in our communities, there’s nothing manufactured about that, but the average person isn’t stupid, they can spot the difference between the truth and hype. Sure, you might be able to drum up a little enthusiasm using hype but if the expectations that the hype you’ve created aren’t met you’ve done nothing but disappoint people, and that’s not good.

Here’s a little lesson I’ve learned over the years: If everything is awesome, nothing is awesome. In other words, you can’t have peaks without valleys, so when you say everything is awesome, your words start to lose value with your audience.

At COTM our marketing strategy is to be honest. When we advertise, we want to tell a story that’s not sensationalized and over-embellished, but rather born out of a genuine desire to serve our audience. Remember, our goal isn’t to draw a crowd, but rather to impact people with the gospel.

Recently, when we sat down to talk about how we wanted to announce the details of our upcoming Seeds Conference we chose to simply share the story and the heart behind the conference in the most honest way we knew how and let our audience decide whether or not they want to come. This, in my mind, is how you serve your audience rather than sell your audience, and this is the thinking behind all of our promotional pieces as of late.

All of us are advertised to every day, and almost every company out there is scheming ways to get you and me to believe that their product is the best. Do we really want to bring that into the church? I happen to believe that when you serve the people you want to reach you can’t lose, and let’s be honest, if you’re afraid that no one will come to your event if you told them the truth about it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing that event in the first place, but that’s a completely different blog.

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Whitney George
Lead Pastor
Whitney George is the Executive Pastor at Church on the Move, where he oversees the operations and ministries of the church. Whitney is passionate about the local church and loves connecting with other church leaders. He and his wife, Heather, have five children and he loves Notre Dame football.