Friday, November 14, 2008

Mark Batterson on Purple cows

Purple Cows

At the Sticks Conference I talked about Trojan Horses, Purple Cows, and Broken Windows. Thought I'd share a few thoughts about purple cows.

One of my favorite marketing books is Purple Cow by Seth Godin. The book revolves around this metaphor: if you've seen one brown cow you've seen them all. But a purple cow, now that would catch your attention. One statement in the book has profound implications: "If you aren't remarkable you're invisible."

Every church needs to paint itself purple. I'm not talking about gimmicks. I'm not talking about being different for difference sake. I'm talking about making such a remarkable difference in our communities that we are unignorable.

I have a couple core convictions:

1) the good news ought to make the news. Brown churches sit on the sideline and invite the community to come to them. Purple churches are always going and compelling. They are making such a big difference that they become a highly visible part of their community. And people drive by the brown churches--the churches that are invisible--to go to the purple church.

2) The greatest message deserves the greatest marketing. I know that marketing is a dirty word in some church circles, but does it get anybody else riled up that Madison Avenue is far better at pedaling its worthless wares than the church is at preaching the good news? I have a problem with that. We need sanctified competitive streaks.

3) The church ought to be the most creative place on the planet. Too many churches look too much alike. We need lots of different kinds of churches because there are lots of different kinds of people. Every church has a unique churchprint and ought to be a unique expression of the gospel in their kingdom niche.

So how do we paint ourselves purple? For starters, dare to be different. You might offend some Pharisees, but that isn't who you're trying to reach. Secondly, disrupt the routine. I think it starts with your personal routine. Change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. You need to get out of your routine so you can have some purple thoughts.

As a leader, you need to cause confusion. Jesus didn't do orientations. He did disorientations. You need to find new ways of saying old things (see the Parables). You need to find new wineskins. You need to sing a new song. Neurological studies have found that familiarity stimulates the left-brain. Novelty stimulates the right-brain. We need some Spirit-inspired, right-brained ideas that capture the imagination of the church and the world

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