“The usual mantra is to ‘try harder’. Trying harder is impossible when you’re already trying as hard as you can. But you can always try different. . . If it’s not working, harder might not be the answer.”
Seth Godin had a great post about marketing based upon some ideas from a book about comic books by Scott McCloud.
In comic books, the action takes place “between the frames” and the reader ends up telling the story in his imagination as much or more than the author/illustrator. The reader moves the story from one frame to the next inventing the action as he goes.
Godin goes on to explain that marketing works the same way. Marketers worry about the frames (commercials, print media, customer “touches,” etc.) when the action that really matters takes place between the frames. It’s not the TV ad, but what my neighbor tells me about the product that matters. It’s not when the waitress is at your table; what matters is what you overhear the other employees say behind the counter.
Anyway, I think this applies to the church too. I’ve worked for pastors who believe that the greatest thing a staff person can do is to make your Sunday morning worship experiences exceptional – that the majority of focus should be on what happens on Sunday mornings. I’m not saying a good worship service is bad. It’s just that there’s so much more. A focus on Sunday morning worship is like focusing on the frames. The “action,” the part that matters, takes place between the frames. It’s the conversations in the parking lot after church – or the invitations to lunch. It’s the smiles shared by one church member to another when they see each other in the mall. It’s the informal gatherings of friends in each others homes. It’s the prayers that are lifted up during the week for a hurting friend – the donations given to someone in need. Real marketing isn’t organized and produced, it’s a natural expression of who we are.
How can we infuse churches with this sort of “between the frames” kind of thinking? What does it take to influence a church culture to become a “comic book culture” with it’s members creating the action between the frames?
Anyway, all this is to say. I’m striving to a “between frames” kind of guy. I pray that God (by His Spirit) will lead my imagination and help me create the story which will move the action to the place where He wants the next frame to be.
On his blog, Seth Godin writes “If you want to dig a big hole, you need to stay in one place.”
I wonder how this applies to evangelism? He explains that if you take your little shovel all over town, you’ll end up with a bunch of little holes – little impact. As a marketing guru, he applies this to sales: If you make 1000 sales calls, you’re likely to get 1000 rejections. On the other hand, if you work on one person and call him ten times, you might make a sale.
Back to evangelism: I think Jesus understood the “Law of the Little Shovel” pretty well. Think about it. He spent lots of time with the same 12 people (the disciples). He used his shovel digging into the lives of the same folks every day for three years of ministry. Those guys ended up changing the world and bringing Jesus’ message to the world as we know it – big impact.
I think it’s important to realize that when we truly invest our lives in people, (the same people year after year) we will dig much deeper in transforming both them and ultimately, the world around us. We should think in terms of changing a few people greatly rather than changing a great number of people in small ways.