By Jonathan Malm on May 21, 2014
By all means we should connect with our listeners, but how we make that connection is a crucial choice.
Many churches theme their sermon series based on a popular TV show, movie or pop culture phenomenon.
I recommend you don’t do that. Here’s why.
1. It gets confusing—especially for unbelievers.
The show Modern Family is a pretty popular sermon series title churches use. As an unbeliever, though, it can get pretty confusing.
“Are you screening episodes during the service? Are you encouraging me to watch it?” Because the popular TV show or movie has such a huge budget, it's easy for your point to get lost within their advertising.
2. You endorse it by putting your name on it.
This is dangerous ground. You never know what scandals or negativity can come from popular culture.
By naming your series a pop-culture title you’re indirectly encouraging people to watch those movies/shows. Different people have different standards for their pop culture consumption.
Unless the movie/show is completely wholesome do you want to encourage people to watch it who may be struggling with things it contains?
3. You lose the opportunity to brand your own message.
I always get annoyed when I see businesses ripping off the “got milk” ads. “Got tires?” “Got beer?”
They will never be able to take over that slogan. It’ll always belong to milk.
Plus, it’s stealing.
You need to be original and create your own branding. Create your own brilliant ideas.
I must admit, I've done a few series based on TV shows or movies. Sometimes the opportunity is too tempting.
So if you must, here are some ideas for you.
1. Go retro!
Pick an old movie (at least 20 years old). It can make it fun.
Plus more of your people have probably already experienced the movie.
2. Just show a clip from the movie/show.
Showing a short clip doesn't necessarily endorse it, and you can still get the illustration across.
(Just make sure your permissions are in order.)
3. Spoof it.
A spoof is creative and, if done well, it can even stand alone from the original movie/show. Spaceballs, anyone?
Through this you can still capitalize off the excitement over that movie/show without connecting yourself too much to it.
Our messages each Sunday morning are far too important to get muddled and clouded by confusing marketing messages. Keep your communication clear and compelling.
Don’t fall into the trap of doing something “cool” just because you’re bored. Make the sermon series packaging irresistible and irreplaceable.
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