Church Marketing Lessons From Haiti, Part 2

January 31, 2008 by

This is part two in a three-part series about church marketing lessons learned from my recent trip to Haiti.

A Holistic Approach to Church Works Well
Although commonplace in third-world countries, it was refreshing to see the value of having so many key community services stem from a local church. At both churches we worked with–just a few miles from each other–they had a medical clinic, an orphanage and a school connected to the main church. One had a homeless shelter and the other was building a trade school. When churches are the hub for community services, it serves as an excellent way for the Gospel to permeate all areas of life from a common birth canal. It’s also a great way for the church community to be plugged into a vocation that really uses their strengths because there are so many options and outlets. I think this holistic approach is really what “church as a community” is all about.

Long Services Are Too Long
The church services in Haiti were really long, sometimes lasting up to three hours. At first I thought this was because it was one of the few big gathering points the community had so they loved being together and time was not an issue. After further inquiry and reflection, the point remains: long services are too long, regardless of the country or culture you’re in. People doze off there just like they do here. Butts get tired. The heat gets hot. I realize these services felt twice as long for me because I don’t speak Creole and there wasn’t any translation, but c’mon friends. Long services are disrespectful and counter-productive.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

4 Responses to “Church Marketing Lessons From Haiti, Part 2”

  • Youth Pastor Will
    January 31, 2008

    First, let me say that your experience in Haiti seemed wonderful and it truly illustrates the need to break down personal barriers that keep us from talking to people who are “different” than us. “Services are too long”… Funny. This is a common complaint that may be caused by lack of focus on both ends. The primary reason for us attending church is for corporate prayer, praise, and worship. If ANY audience is just simply listening to a speaker, then studies say that anything over 50 minutes is too long. You already stopped reading my comment a few seconds ago. :) Maybe the “What?” has been answered but not the “Why?” The questions can be exponential without truly knowing the background of the church, but these are a few common questions as food for thought… Were these folks engaged in praise & worship? Have they been taught the sacrifice of praise? Were the people participating in the sermon by the minister’s lead or was it one way communication?

     | Permalink
  • josiah
    February 3, 2008

    “long services are disrespectful and counter productive” ? Honestly I think your going to far man, I dont like to sit in one spot forever either, but to say they are “counter productive”? Come man, dont make Jesus into a business, who is it disrespectful to? God? what about the sabaath, being a whole day dedicated to the Lord? Dont get me wrong I dont live by an old testament sabaath law, but I do think, that your removing the Holy Spirit from the equation. You’ll never be able to reach people with gospel if you alter just for the sake of getting people to come! People need raw Jesus, not better church marketing, and God is faithful to call people to himself, bro even the rocks will cry out.

     | Permalink
  • Brad Abare
    February 6, 2008

    My intention is not for churches to decrease the length of services, or to turn services into some well-oiled streamlined machine. The point was to be mindful of the audience. If people are dozing off or not paying attention, that could be a problem. I don’t think the Holy Spirit is removed from the equation when we have shorter services or longer services.

     | Permalink
  • Phebe
    October 10, 2008

    Just want to say that maybe 3 hour church services has something to do with the Black culture. I live in Southeast US. All of my life, I have attended church (Black, Pentacostal)where Sunday services last up to three hours. Anything less would cause me to say, “Wow! We got out of church EARLY today!”

     | Permalink