This past weekend, Liquid Church in New Jersey passed the offering plate like every other Sunday, but this time, instead of asking people to put money in the plate, they asked people to take money from the plate. Why?
The church put envelopes of $10, $20, and $50 into the popcorn bucket collection baskets they normally use and told people to take money, no strings attached…sort of. According to Pastor Tim Lucus:
“This wasn’t a handout,” he said. “That’s the tip of the iceberg. We challenge people; we want them to creatively invest this money.”
So, while the members of the church didn’t have to do anything in particular with the money (they could just go to Taco Bell for lunch if they wanted) the message delivered with the reverse offering was that when God provides money and resources in our lives, He trusts that we will use that to help others. So, many people’s reaction was not to go buy a new CD (do people still buy CDs?), it was to find a way to use the money to help someone else.
You can read more about the story here.
It’s an interesting idea. At first I thought, “Really? I know the economy is down right now, but how much good is $10 or even $50 going to do someone who can’t make a $1000 mortgage payment?” But as I read on and saw the idea of allowing those who really need it to use it for their needs, but also encouraging those who don’t absolutely need it to find a way to use it to help someone else in need, I started to like the idea.
What Makes This Work?
For the message of encouraging people to help someone else with the money, the money itself really isn’t a big deal. Most people would have been able to come up with $10 or $20 on their own. But this took the message to a whole new level. Now it wasn’t just a message. People had a physical $20 bill in their hand that they wouldn’t really think of as their own money. I think that would make it much more likely that the people would actually do something.
This is an interesting idea and a nice story and I could probably leave it at that…but this is Church Marketing Online. So, let’s think for a moment about the marketing aspect of this.
Can Anyone Say Links?!
Do a search for “liquid church reverse offering” and you’ll see that there have literally been hundreds, if not thousands of articles written about this already…and it’s only Tuesday. Many of these articles link back to the church. These are quality, natural links and a lot of them are from authority media sites.
Have you heard of Liquid Church? You have now and so have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other people.
Thousands of Marketers
When all was said and done, the church gave out $30K to over 2,100 people and told them to go help someone with the money. That’s over 2,100 people may will go out into their community and help someone else (awesome), but also probably talk about the church as well. Granted, they probably don’t think of themselves this way, but it’s 2,100 motivated marketers going out to the very people the church hopes to attract.
Lots of Potential Follow-Up
When a church does an event or marketing campaign, often times when it’s done, it’s done. With the reverse offering, after the event was done, the question begs to be asked, “What did you do with the money?” There will be thousands of stories about how that money was used. That’s a lot of potential.
What do you think?
Is the reverse offering a good idea or some gimmicky ploy?
What are your thoughts on the idea and the reaction to it?