I don’t do Black Friday shopping. I went out in the madness once, but that was all it took for me to swear it off forever. That being said, I decided the 50% off microwave was too good to pass up. So, I went shopping on Thanksgiving night.
I stood in line with 75-80 other people at the Sears in El Dorado, AR. As we waited, I listened to everyone talk about the deals on TVs. As I stood there, I thought, “Oh good, they’re not here for the microwaves!” (I really was dumb for standing in line to wait on a microwave, but that’s another story for another time.)
The doors opened promptly at 8:00 pm as advertised, and the people rushed in towards the electronics department. They were all after the big screen TVs they had seen in the advertisements. Instead of finding discounted televisions, they found a 20-something store manager telling them that this particular store does not have the advertised TVs!
Those people were MAD. There were a several unrepeatable words used and the angry mob slowly stormed out. After 75-80 people walked into the store, there were now only about 10 of us left.
Those people were angry because they were victims of false advertising. The paper ad clearly had pictures of TVs, the discounted price of the TVs, and it said, “Sale begins at 8 pm!” Most people who read that would reason that there would be discount TVs available to purchase at 8 pm, but there were no TVs. That’s false advertising.
It turns out that Sears has different types of stores that carry different varieties of items. This particular store was in a smaller market, so they did not carry the full line of TVs listed in the advertisement. I felt bad for the store manager because blame clearly belonged to higher management at Sears, but those people felt lied to and used. I understand their feelings.
The lesson here is to think about what you’re advertising. In ministry, we are constantly advertising. We talk about our church and our ministry in everyday conversations. We give a sales pitch every time we recruit a new a new leader. We advertise to parents about all the things we’re doing on Sundays or Wednesday with their kids.
Stop and think:
Is your advertisement about the ministry truthful or is it what you wish were true?
No one likes to be the victim of false advertising. I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve made promises to volunteers and parents that I just couldn’t keep. I got them in the door with that promise, but then I had to apologize when I really couldn’t deliver the goods.
We have to be careful not to oversell our ministry or ourselves. When we do, it only ends up disappointing others. You don’t have to put out a 4-page ad about all that is wrong with your church. Find ways to highlight what you do well. Use those things to recruit new leaders and connect with parents.