It has long been said that the most effective advertising is word of mouth! That does not discount the value and importance of standard forms of commercial advertising, such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, internet, and so on… If there was no value in commercial advertising, newspapers would pretty much shut down, radio stations would go off the air and television spots on the Super Bowl would not be running in the millions of dollars per spot.
Commercial advertising drives a consumer to initially try a particular product. Word of mouth advertising kicks in after he tries that product. If he’s impressed, he’ll personally spread the word by mouth to other people he knows. A personal recommendation, from somebody they know who has actually tried a product, is far more powerful at persuading people to try that product themselves than is an impersonal advertisement. As more people try the product, and like it, they will in turn spread the word to other people they know. The effect increasingly builds as more people talk positively about the product.
What does this have to do with the church and reaching people with the gospel? Remember, YOU are the church! Your personal touch is powerful. We have seen that advertising in the newspaper and on television and radio does reach many people and motivates them to study God’s word, and even to visit with us at some of our services. But your personal touch is important as a follow up to their initial response. How does your personal touch come into play?
When a person asks to study the Bible with us through the mail, somebody has to grade their lessons, help them with any questions they might have and send them the next lessons. YOU are somebody! Your personal touch in helping that person learn the gospel could make the difference in their being saved, or lost.
When a visitor comes to one of our services, your personal touch in welcoming them, introducing yourself to them and encouraging them to come back can have a powerful, positive effect on them. It could make the difference in their returning and learning vital truths from God’s word that could ultimately lead to their salvation.
Almost certainly, there’s a person in your life who needs to learn the gospel. But they may not know what to do, which way to turn. Somebody needs to reach out to them, motivate and give them some direction. YOU are somebody! Your personal touch could be just the thing to get them started in the right direction. Even a simple invitation to services could be the initial spark that could lead them to salvation in Christ.
People respond to other people. A personal touch, your personal touch, can have more influence on another person than you might imagine. Let me encourage you to be aware and be ready for opportunities to use your personal touch to help others in their search for the Lord’s way…
Gary L. Hutchens