The word “REVIVAL” is a good word. Don’t be afraid to use it. It’s the most biblical word we could use. I’m surprised at the pastors, especially the younger pastors, who have never been in a real revival. Changing the name of a meeting will not help. Many people still relate positively to the word revival. The key is the right man, at the right place, at the right time. God calls men and especially gifts them for the purpose of revival crusades.
Dunn and Bradstreet says “95% of all businesses that go bankrupt are among those who do not advertise.” Advertising that motivates a person to attend a crusade is just as important in its place as the singing and preaching. The magic word here is “motivates”. Just because everyone has been “notified” about the revival does not mean they will attend. Everyone knows about your church, but many do not attend. Do everything you can to make a BIG DEAL out of it and we will have more people to attend.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUBLICITY AND ADVERTISING
There is a difference between publicity and advertising. Publicity is usually free, like news releases for the papers and interviews for radio and television. Advertising is what you purchase, like newspaper ads, spots on radio and television, display posters and brochures. The rule of thumb is the more you advertise the more publicity you receive. For example, we have found many newspapers will give you a news story for every ad you purchase. You cannot expect newspapers to give you very many news releases unless you purchase advertising space. The main reason for purchased ads is being able to say what you want to say, the way you want to say it, when you want to say it. They also reflect the identifying theme of the crusade and compliment the brochures, posters and other types of advertising that might be used.
SATURATION IS THE KEY!
The advertising for our Revivals and Revelation Bible Conferences needs to be of a saturation nature in order for it to be effective. Saturation simply means that the interest of the entire area will be stimulated in as many ways and as many times as possible. Anything less than saturation is poor stewardship because it just will not get the job done. Saturation does not mean that every kind of advertising known to man must be utilized, but it does mean that the methods of advertising chosen will be used to the point of saturation.
We have professionally prepared materials designed to use in advertising our meetings. This material has been tried and proven to attract attention, create anticipation and help motivate people to attend the services. Reaching people in the church is one thing. Reaching people outside the church is another matter and demands more creativeness.
SATURATION IS STILL THE KEY!
NEWSPAPERS: Included in our advertising are news releases, biographical sketches, pictures, posters, handouts, and newspaper ads that can be reproduced. There is always some free publicity available for religious purposes. Take advantage of this, but do not stop there. Buy several ads for each issue during the two weeks before the crusade. Use photos liberally. During the crusade there should be something in the paper every day. If the revival budget does not allow you to saturate two weeks, then saturate the week before the revival.
Also, notify the proper members of the newspaper staff that the team members will be available for interviews for feature stories. Many times newspapers are interested because of our life style on the road and unusual backgrounds. Remember! To do the best job with the advertising dollar—WE MUST SATURATE!
RADIO AND TELEVISION
RADIO AND TELEVISION: When contacted several weeks ahead of time there is a lot of free time on radio and television available on some stations. Take advantage of this.
Purchased radio spot announcements can be very effective, but only if they are purchased in sufficient quantity to saturate. The goal should be the greatest number of spots in the shortest time. Many radio stations have special rates for churches and non-profit organizations. You have to watch them or they will put your spots at a bad time. It is far better to pay for a spot at a good time than get a free spot at a bad time. Of course, take anything that is free and be thankful for it. If you can afford only twenty spots on the radio, it is better to have them all in one day, the day before the crusade or the first day of the crusade. At least ten spots a day during the crusade works wonders. That is, if they are artfully created and maintain a congruent theme—30 to 60 seconds are long enough. There are at least four 30 second spots already prepared in our material.
Television spot announcements are the best advertising available, but they are very expensive. This is not an advisable means of advertising unless there is sufficient funds to saturate. Your money may be better spent on other means of advertising, unless you can saturate. In a city-wide revival in a town of 50,000 or more it is a must, however. Work toward getting the team booked on talk shows and for interviews.
BILLBOARDS AND SIGNS: Some kind of billboard or sign needs to be displayed in front of the church or place where the meeting is being held. It is very, very important to have a billboard or sign at the location of the meeting. A must if at all possible. A local painter or printer can do this. Also, you might check into what it would cost for a month to get the large billboards that you see when you come into and go out of town. Sometimes we have found them to be fairly reasonable. The portable signs on a little trailer work well and are available in most situations.
CRUSADE COUNTDOWN BULLETINS AND/OR INSERTS: These inserts should be used for five Sundays. This strategy is very effective in creating anticipation and building interest for the crusade. The information in these bulletins and inserts can be used for handouts and newspapers, etc.
WHAT ABOUT WORD OF MOUTH? Of course this is the most economical and the best way to enlist people to attend the crusade services. However, if just word of mouth would do the job we would have to bring in extra chairs every time the church congregated.
There is no substitute for word of mouth. One person inviting another person to hear the Good News of Christ is the most powerful and most effective way to build attendance. However, word of mouth is 100 times more effective when preceded by stimulating and thought provoking advertising. People are much more excited, persuasive and successful in inviting people to something that has been well advertised. It makes the people who are working toward a successful crusade more faithful and excited about what is going on for the glory of God. When a crusade is advertised like something big and God honoring, people are proud to be part of it. Good advertising makes it easier for people to talk about it. It is not “cold” calling or “cold” inviting. People already know something about what you are talking about.
The reason for such a crowd at Pentecost is recorded in Acts 2:6, “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together.” There is no hope of reaching people for Christ in a mass movement unless their attention and interest are aroused. We need to use advertising that compels. Jesus said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and COMPEL them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
A FINAL WORD
If you do not have the means to advertise the way you would like, discuss it with some of your business men and women. Most of them will understand the importance of advertising. They may help underwrite it. You may want to take some special offerings. The question is not, can we afford it, but can we afford not to advertise? Let’s make the advertising of this crusade a matter of much thought and prayer. If we are going to reach the people outside the church we must go out into the highways and hedges with saturation advertising followed up by word of mouth.
Over 62 years as a vocational evangelist and over 1,800 revivals, crusades and Revelation Bible Conferences have taught us that the quality and quantity of our meetings results will be in direct proportion to four things:
- Emphasis on prayer.
- Extensive planning and involvement of people.
- Saturation of well-prepared advertising.
- Soul winning attitude.
Since we are going to have revival, we might as well have a good one. Let’s give it our best shot!