Author: Ron Graham
Many a door for the gospel has been opened by the Lord through advertizing, both by by word of mouth and by supplementary methods (newspapers, brochures, billboards, radio and television, the internet, community notices, bumper stickers, give-aways, and what have you.)
Our purpose in running ads is to preach the gospel and to announce opportunities to hear the gospel. It is God's will that unbelievers attend our meetings (1Corinthians 14:24). We can use advertizing directly to teach the gospel. “Teaching ads” are one effective way to get the gospel into the world. It is God's will that we teach the gospel everywhere (Mark 16:15-16).
The following table sets out the types of advertizing and shows which kind is most appropriate for the church.
|Corporate image||Creating impressions||Limited suitability
|Public awareness||Information, education||Best suited
Cost effectiveness is what many commercial enterprises look at, and certainly the church ought to get best value for its advertizing dollar. However we must also remember that the salvation of even one soul cannot be rightly measured in dollars (Luke 15:10, 1Peter 1:3-9).
Some advertizing applications measure effectiveness by the mass of responses. However this involves finding out what the masses are seeking, and aiming a product at that desire. We are in the business of appealing to the masses, but not pandering to their worldly desires (John 6:22-26,66-69).
If our advertizing had the effect of singling out a few honest and good hearts (Luke 8:15) and putting us in touch with a few true seekers, then our advertizing is effective.
We may perceive only the local and short-term effects of a given advertizing campaign. The cumulative effects over time may reach beyond our ken.
Four things we should avoid in advertizing are...
Let us make sure our ads present the gospel of "Jesus Christ and him crucified" (Romans 1:16-17, 1Corinthians 2:1-5).
When contact comes, make the most of it, be prepared for it, and follow it up (Colossians 4:5). Advertizing is wasted if our “response to the responses” is lacking.