What can a preacher and leader of a local church learn from the Green Bay Packers? Not much, I would think. We deals with souls, they deal with pigskins. We invest in eternity, they play 16 regular season games. They sell beer, get big and wild crowds that take away our Sunday attenders. But even, if in many ways, we are on opposite ends of society, I learned two great lessons this week while on a vacation stop to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the home of the notorious (but very smart), cheeseheads. Here are my learnings:
Venue of Excitement. As we got close enough to the stadium it was apparent something was going on. Since it was a Saturday, during the month of July, I knew there were no official ballgames in progress. From the outskirts of the parking lot, we saw kids running up stairs, and families taking selfies. There were folks swarming all over an empty stadium. The place seemed to generate it own excitement. During the time we were looking around, three different wedding parties arrived for photo ops! Wow!
So what is the lesson here. Do we need a bunch of cheerleaders and a million dollars worth of statues, signage and memorabilia? Of course not. Churches don’t need to buy their way toward excitement. But we can celebrate life change, progress and growth! Since “church” is often associated with the word “boredom,” a proactive approach might be wise. Are folks getting saved? Woohoo! Talk it up! Are baptisms happening? Celebrate them! Taking time to honor and recognize achievement by your volunteers can go along way in changing a stodgy image. Since we all would agree that boredom and apathy are not what we desire for our church’s image, let me remind you it is okay to have fun and a good time at church. (Note: After re-reading this, I realize “Venue of Excitement” might be a bit too strong. If not taken carefully, we could just turn church into another place of hype. But how about this… Let’s make church a “Venue of Anticipation.” I think it is exciting that people are actually anticipating Sundays at their local church!!!)
Multi-level Engagement. Secondly, in addition to being clean, clutter free and very well decorated; the facility was engaging. Here are a few examples.
I am not a much of a Packer fan, but they had a store that had something for everyone and every age. Logos on baby bibs, jerseys, Packer coffee cups and foam cheeseheads were everywhere. Placards of significant Packer moments were on display. Pictures of achievement were abounding. The places to take family pictures and groups pictures are pretty cool. Every age and every stage of fan had something to do.
So what is the take away here?
My thoughts are this. When our regular fans (oops, I mean church attenders) arrive, they are already comfortable. They know the surroundings, the people, the schedule, etc… But when new folks show up, they can be uncomfortable because there is little familiarity. (I just visited a brand new church as a vacationer last Sunday. I must have read the bulletin 40 times. Even the fine print stuff.) The Packers organization has figured out how to engage folks at many levels. There were kiosks to look at. Plaques to read. The walls were well decorated and interesting pictures with captions were everywhere. Question: Can we do better than blank walls and a boilerplate bulletins? I think so. Photos are easy. Core values and beliefs could be printed and displayed. Wouldn’t it be cool if our churches were known for being very interesting places of engagement?
Conclusion: At the end of the Lambeau experience, we got into our car and we just sat there for a moment. Our family had a discussion of the exceeded expectations and all of the things we had engaged in. It was a “wow” moment!
So here is the big question for you: When folks leave your church would you rather have them say, “That was boring” or perhaps just sit there for a moment and say wow! We all work hard to get the Gospel to folks. We work hard to disciple. Let’s not just work hard, let’s work smart too!
Join the ReachKeep Resource Feed
I like what I see! Sign me up! Just enter your email address to receive regular bursts of innovative ideas and training solutions from ReachKeep. Plus you will receive a FREE copy of Facebook for Pastors (now over 5000 downloads).