Sharks and Churches
Shark Tank is a show where entrepreneurs pitch their idea or company to a panel (the Sharks) of start up investors.
Products get rejected again and again because the need they meet is too hard to explain to the consumer (the buyer). The people who have developed these products are passionate. They are dedicated. They understand the need from their perspective and to them their product meets a need that they have. But do others have the need? Why is it so difficult to convince the Sharks that there is a need? Are people getting the need much less the solution. Are there any sales to prove that people get it.
Over and over, I have watched the Sharks say, “It seems like a great product but you haven’t convinced me of the need” or “You have no sales. Clearly, people don’t believe they need it” The next words of the investors are “I’m out.”
Did you know that over 90% of all reported church growth is just Christians moving from one church to another. In other words, the church is saying, “We have the answer to change lives from bad to better. You can be saved. Our product works” when, in reality, our churches aren’t really making new believers at all. The data reveals that people who are lost are not flocking to the answer that our churches are pitching. They don’t think they need it and they don’t want it. We aren’t wining the world. We are just offering an “improved product” to someone else’s customers.
I wonder if the Sharks would invest in many of our church plans, models, and new starts. Probably not. After all we really don’t have too many sales for our life changing product. They might invest if we were honest and said, “We believe we can do it better than the churches that exist and we can steal their customers, build something bigger, and make a profit.”
There are dead and dying churches. There are times that a new thing is perfectly good to accelerate believers from one stage to another. But is that how we market? Are we honest? I want to believe that most new churches and most churches that advertise really want to win the world. But I wonder, are they just trying to fill the seats, pay the bills, or just live out some narcissistic success story.
What would the world think if we just pitted ourselves against other local churches and said, “We do it better!” or “New and improved!” I cannot bring myself to believe that this objective is what we really intend.
Why is it that our “product” is great at transfer growth but not at really penetration of the market need?
Doug Burrier © 2016