The Lesson From the Tulsa Trump RallyMark Brooks
What is the lesson from the Tulsa Trump rally? OK, first, those of you who click on this because of the headline, you will probably be disappointed. My focus is upon helping churches increase giving and givers. So, right upfront, you need to realize this is not a political post nor a political observation, but my interpretation of why the recent Trump rally in Tulsa only had around 6,000. My point is to draw an analogy from this event to what is happening in churches across America.
First, a bit of background. I grew up in Tulsa and have many friends and family in that region. If you know Oklahoma, you know it is a very conservative state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. I am sure the Trump campaign felt Tulsa was the perfect place for the beginning of their rallies. Why then was the arena not filled to overflowing? I believe there is one simple word to explain it,
Fear. In the weeks after the announcing of the rally, I began to monitor my Facebook page for my Tulsa peeps and their views. I kept reading posts from died in the wool Trump fans about how they were afraid to attend. To be fair, many responded that they feared the unrest they knew was coming for those that attended. I leave that to you to debate whether or not that kept attendance below 7K. However, most I saw responded that they would not attend out of fear of COVID19. This fact, more than any other in my view, kept the attendance low.
Setting aside the political aspect of the Trump rally, the lower than anticipated attendance begs this question for churches,
What percentage of members will attend on-campus services when you start back? Less than you think is what my experience and research have found. Why? Americans are terrified. I must confess that with a death rate of 0.05%, if you get the virus, I don’t understand what drives that, but it is what it is.
One of my clients asked me to lead his team for their relaunch on June 14th. Weeks before we surveyed the congregation. Here is a sample of many similar fears expressed by a member,
“…if when returning back to the house of God, the personal choice to wear PPE is left up to the individual then will we all be involving ourselves in the mentally deadly encounter of Russian roulette?”
25% of this church’s normal pre-COVID19 attendance showed up on the first Sunday!
30% to 40%. Churches are seeing the same thing happening as they start back with on-campus services with attendance running far less than before COVID19 struck. Greg Atkinson runs a Facebook group page called Weekend Worship and Guest Services that has great posts and helps on churches opening back for live on-campus worship. Tracking churches that have already held on-campus services, you find an average attendance of between 30% to 40% of pre-COVID19 attendance. Here is his link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/worshipandguestservices/
Join this Facebook group, and you will see how divided not only America is on how to respond to the COVID19 pandemic but also how divided the Church is. Forget about dividing the room by asking if eternal security is biblical or not. The real fight starts when you ask if you should require masks for everyone attending.
Here is my point. I can give you facts all day long, such as you are more likely according to the Wall Street Journal of dying in a car wreck on your way to church than you are of getting and dying from COVID19 at church! Facts no longer matter as fear has replaced reason. The narrative in the media and from our leading Evangelical leaders has stoked those fears, and it will impact your attendance when you do start back for on-campus meetings.
The facts are you will see fewer in attendance when you do start on-campus services than you would like. Just ask Donald Trump about his experience.
This is another reason why we must adopt a 24/7/365 day offering strategy! A huge part of this is establishing a Digital Giving Strategy. Check out my posts on this at Gyve https://gyve.com/gyve-generosity-articles/
The churches that are following me are better positioned to weather this current storm because they have adapted a Digital Giving Strategy. Contact me today to find out how I can do the same of you for only $1 a day!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach