September 11, 2013 - 5:14 PM
PENTICTON - "We live in a world that lies to us every single day."
Song lyric? Conspiracy theorists? Nope, that was the outdoor advertisement outside Penticton's Seventh Day Adventist Church. While other churches offer simple platitudes like "Prayer That Heals" to entice potential pew-sitters, the Adventists went cerebral. Perhaps a little negative.
But it worked and got us thinking about the trouble church have these days reaching people. We knocked on the door to ask a few questions, but no one was home. Phone calls weren't returned. No one wanted to talk about modern marketing strategies of the Faithful. At least not there. Nothing but a web address.
Luckily other pastors are more willing to talk about the modern day dilemma: Reaching out to people in a fast-paced, busy, online multimedia world.
Pastor Darwin Pichette of the Pentecostal Bethel Church is one of now several churches trying to reach people where they are—online. In addition to advertising with traditional media outlets, the church has its own website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
Pichette does everything he can to keep people informed and the church stocked with happy parishioners. He adapts what he preaches, how his church looks and what programs he's offering. He believes staying relevant is crucial because churches are dying, he says.
Ministers have it harder than ever if they want to keep or attract people. Churches need to offer different programs, let people know about these programs and talk about something timely during sermons or even change the paint job.
He says simply repainting his church to that light brown so popular with new homes and commercial buildings has done well. Passersby have stopped and chatted with the volunteers doing the painting and Pichette gets positive comments about the new colour scheme. The 20-foot cross on the building's front was removed, re-sanded and re-coloured as well. He explains the new paint makes the church look current.
Pichette also makes sure people can relate to what's said and sung in church. He gets people singing lively songs and clapping their hands to get their energy up and his sermons will be something the audience can relate to.
Some churches or denominations have been slow to change, he says. The sermons he's heard at other places are the same sermons heard 100 years ago. The Catholic church is even more rigid with its programming. Even as someone who has studied religion some sermons have left Pichette scratching his head. "I've been to churches where I didn't know what they are talking about," he says or how it relates to him.
Pichette is determined not to go that route. He wants churches and what they offer to matter and be relevant. "We've forgotten about God.... Our life is so busy, with work, sports, stores being open (on Sunday)," he says.
And that doesn't leave time to interpret a cryptic sign on the front of a church.
To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065, tweet @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict
—This story was re-written for content at 2:07 p.m.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013