August 1997

Dear Pastor,

Greetings to all of you.

Where did this summer go? Schools are open once again, and soon the fall schedule will be upon us. I hope and pray all will go well in your churches.

I want to write today on “mission statements” and “marketing strategies.” Yes, those are buzz words today. Everyone is developing a mission statement—even churches—and thousands of churches are talking about how to market themselves to their communities. We at Woodland Drive-In Church have done the same.

Our mission statement is simple and straightforward: “To bring people to faith in Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their Christian faith. We provide an alternate worship experience for those who feel more comfortable in a less formal setting.”

Our marketing strategy, if you can call it that, is two-tiered. (1) We offer ourselves and our services to the local churches, not to “steal their sheep,” but serve any who may, temporarily, want a worship service in which they (for whatever reason) can remain in their cars. These letters have been the primary vehicle for making you aware of us and what we are about.  (2) We use different avenues to get our message out to those who do not attend church. The main one is our ad in the Saturday paper, which is always somewhere in the entertainment section of the Grand Rapids Press. It’s not that we look at our worship services as entertainment; actually, we are very traditional. But see ourselves as competing for the leisure time that people have. A person looking in the entertainment section of the Press is trying to find something to do that is not work or home related. We hope that by seeing our ad, thoughts may be triggered that perhaps their should attend church on Sunday morning.

On the other hand, we do not advertise in the religion section of the Saturday Press. Why not? Because we do not see ourselves in competition with other churches; rather, we are your servants for Christ’s sake.

We covet your prayers on our behalf.

Verlyn D. Verbrugge

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