Servolution: Starting a Church Revolution Through Serving

June 25, 2009 by

2009_06_24_servolution.jpgDino Rizzo’s Servolution does two things:

First, it tells the story of Healing Place Church (HPC) in Louisiana, and how in 1993, armed with a $400 check, Rizzo and his wife DeLynn started to serve the unwanted people of Baton Rouge. In the book he chronicles the worries and successes, the challenges and the celebrations in the life of a church community that grew from the vision of one couple to having multiple campuses and a range of ministries.

Secondly, Rizzo shares the strategies and resources that have made the ministry of HPC so fruitful. The book concludes with suggestions of things you could do to get your own ‘servolution’ started and a list of connections that HPC have made during the course of serving such a wide range of people.

Each church situation is different and this story shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a set of instructions on how to serve your community. Early on Rizzo talks about handing out bottles of water on street corners to hot and tired motorists. This may work in the heat and humidity of Louisiana but isn’t going to make such an impact on a wet weekend in Maine, but the principle is the same. Identify real needs and serve people where you can.

He’s also clear that serving those needs are not part of a recruitment drive for your specific church. We are called to love our neighbors regardless of which church, if any, they choose to attend. So, the services are provided free and with love. Some may be accompanied by information of the church you are part of and when your meetings are, but in all cases the love comes first.

Imaging the impact that mobilizing your church in this kind of way would have on your community. People not only know the name of your church and the building you are in, but they also know the name of the people who worship there. They would have positive stories to share with their friends about your church–and we all know that word of mouth is the best kind of advertising you could hope for.

Well, at least HPC knows this, the word got so far that they even got a mention in a State of the Union address, but you’ll have to buy the book to read about that. It’s well worth it.

You might ask what this book has to do with church marketing. I’m sure nearly all of your churches have been in the same situation as Dino was–very little money, very big dreams and no way to market your church. Obviously, at a broad level, living a Christ-like life and serving is incredible marketing. But more specifically, watch for a second post on four specific lessons Dino Rizzo gives to church marketers in Servolution.

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Phil Prior

Phil Prior spent five years as a marketer in higher education before being appointed head of marketing for Wycliffe Bible Translators in the UK. In his spare time he works with Focus, an organization that trains and equips Christians with the skills to communicate the gospel using web 2.0.
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