Both Bryan and I – being siblings and Religious Studies majors – were stuck in our cars this morning listening to the WBEZ Morning Shift segment on marketing churches and spiritual organizations. Specialized firms have popped up to help the religious institutions reach out to possible new congregants (especially Millennials) via social media and advertising. Our take-away was that the hook that most religious organizations are using is community service and organizing – whether that be by selling church-made Episcopickles at a bazaar or coordinating volunteer opportunities.
The WBEZ segment both made us think of the time we spent with the YMCA of the USA helping them build their national program to promote social responsibility, called Togetherhood. The Y has done a great job promoting health and education through their fitness and early childhood education programs, but the third part of their mission – spirit – has been lost in an increasingly secular world.
While working on the project and talking with Y volunteer coordinators and members, we realized that there is an inherent human desire to give back – motivated by a hundred different things – but the desire is very close to the surface. We helped the Y tell the very compelling story about how a person can get involved and make their own community better, which makes oneself feel better. A rising tide floats all boats. And gets butts into pews.