Free Gas Church in New York Times

October 5, 2005 by

Earlier this month we talked about a church giving away free gas to visitors, and last week that church, Clearview Community Church in Sioux City, Iowa, was mentioned in The New York Times.

The mention comes in the last paragraph of an article talking about businesses offering free gas promotions, so it’s nothing to get too excited about.

But imagine if your church were mentioned in The New York Times. Not too shabby. It may not immediately lead to more people checking out your church, but it will encourage other journalists to pay attention to your church and it does raise the profile of your church. All of which could eventually (and hopefully) lead to more visitors coming to your church and finding God. And in the words of the “Hokey Pokey,” that’s what it’s all about. (let’s not let anyone get the idea that being in The New York Times is some kind of status symbol that churches should be aiming for.)

How did Clearview Community Church land such a mention? Who knows how it all went down, but the primary elements were an idea worth talking about and a press release to let the media know. (and there’s probably a fine line between an idea worth talking about and a gimmick, but that’s another entry.)

Update: So was the promotion a success? I asked Clearview’s pastor, Shawn Raloff, how it went. He noted that the local media didn’t give them as much attention as he hoped, but they did pull in 19 families: 12 came thanks to the press release, 4 came by invitation from others, and 3 more were invited by those who came thanks to the press release.

Here’s how Raloff summed it up:

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “Outstanding”—I would rate it a “7.” I think the idea was sound, I think that Sioux City is just a hard town to reach out to. We have not seen incredible results here with any of the promotions we have run. All together, so far, it appears that 4 families will become members of the church as a result of the promotion. Total spent: $200.00 for gas, $6 for materials. There is still “residual effect” to be counted; we will have to see how that goes…

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Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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