"We are for God and the city."
When Chris Tomlin and the Passion team championed this message in 2007, churches nationwide set out to love their neighbors with a completely new mindset. And it worked. According to Pew Research, 8% more adults in the U.S. claimed Christian faith in 2008 than in 2001.
Fifteen years later, we're still using this message. But there's a big problem— our neighbors stopped believing it.
If we love our communities with our time, service, money, and presence, they should know we're genuine in making the city a better place. But as it turns out, it's not always about what you're doing, but how you talk about what you're doing.
The Copycat Epidemic
Can you relate to the following scenario? Your Pastor (or worship leader or creative director) just saw a mega-church post something online that was incredibly poignant and effective. Now they want you to recreate it for this Sunday at your church.
It's great to have inspiration for our ministries, and we should always aspire to grow. But as Carey Nieuwhof points out, "There's a world of difference between adopting best practices and blindly copying."
When we copy other churches, we do things that don't make sense for our own communities. We embrace generic messages that fall on deaf ears. We open old wounds for those who have been hurt by the churches who used the same tactics we copied.
But there's a way to show your neighbors you genuinely care about them.
How a Big Church Wins a Little Neighborhood
Grace Family Church is a behemoth in the Tampa Bay area, averaging a weekly in-person attendance of 6,000 across seven campuses. As part of their summer series, the church wanted to reorient themselves to reach Tampa's individual neighborhoods genuinely.
Instead of adopting a generic "for the city" message with a stock graphic, Grace Family Church dug deep into the identity of each neighborhood to create something that would touch the hearts of its residents.
Vers was brought in to design custom logos for each neighborhood based on their landmarks, individual characteristics, and geography. The logos didn't say the church name or have any religious imagery— they were a gift from the church to the neighborhood.
The logos were then turned into merchandise. Keychains, shirts, mugs, stickers, and more were driven all over Tampa in a custom VW Transporter and given away for free to residents. The feedback was incredible. Everyone who interacted with the Grace Family Church merch team was excited to receive gifts that reflected the pride they feel for their home/community.
“I can see my house from here!”
Have you gotten way too excited because an ad was shot near your house, or you knew someone in it? As a continuation of their neighborhood campaign, Grace Family Church and Vers capitalized on this feeling, creating hyper-focused video ads to accompany the fresh new neighborhood logos.
By coordinating over 50 volunteers in seven different video shoots, each with multiple scenes, Vers produced video ads that showcase what life is like in each Tampa neighborhood. The neighborhood videos were seen by over 800,000 targeted individuals in their respective communities, leading to confirmed new members at every single location.
Get More out of Your Neighborhood Campaign
You love your city. It's time to connect with them in a new way that is unique to your church and your neighborhood. But not every church has the resources to design logos, create videos, and run social media campaigns. That's where Vers comes in.
Even if you don't have the time or bandwidth to dive into a hyper-focused neighborhood campaign, you can still reach those in your area. Vers provides end-to-end campaign solutions, from graphic design, video strategy and ad management. Set up a meeting today to see how Vers can get more butts in the seats of your church.
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