A little known historical fact in church history involves the day a church came up with the ingenious marketing scheme to advertise events. You have to use “F” words. You know what I’m talking about: food, fun and fellowship. Let me set the scene for you…
No one knows for sure, it’s all just legend and oral tradition. But I like to picture a small country church in Savannah, Georgia during a women’s ministry planning meeting sometime in the early part of the 20th century. The ladies of First Church of Savannah were having trouble attracting people to attend their Bible study. They always served such delicious snacks, desserts and sweet tea. But still only a handful showed up. Something had to be done. They decided they needed more than just food. They needed…something.
They brainstormed on the chalkboard of the Sunday School classroom for almost an hour before Sarah spoke up.
“Fun. We have to offer fun.”
Mildred was confused. “Fun? What exactly does that mean? What type of fun: games, music, activities?” Sarah replied, “I don’t know, just fun. If we say it will be fun, maybe people will show up.”
Grace perked up from across the table. “Yes, fun. That’s what we need. It doesn’t matter if we actually do anything as long as we advertise that it will be fun.”
Still, Mildred wasn’t fully convinced. “What if people ask too many questions? Such as ‘Where is the fun you promised?’ or ‘What type of activities are your idea of fun?’”
That’s when the magic happened. Barbara had been quiet all night until she received inspiration from the Holy Spirit and shouted out “Fellowship!”
The room fell silent for a moment, then erupted in agreement. Still, Mildred wanted to clarify things.
“What exactly is the difference,” Mildred asked, “between what we’ve been doing at our Bible studies and ‘fellowship?’”
The room of sweaty and tired women – wanting to go home and end this meeting – peered at Mildred with disdain. “Fellowship will make it sound more spiritual than just hanging around,” Grace said. Plus it’s alliteration. Using alliteration in church is always awesome.”
So it began. Ever since the meeting of the minds that fateful night, churches everywhere have followed suit by promising food, fun and fellowship at events. Want to raise the bar of excitement for your Bible study where people sit in a circle and talk? Offer food, fun and fellowship. Is your Men’s prayer breakfast not drawing the numbers? You’ve got the food, you’re missing the fun and fellowship. Is the monthly budget meeting boring everyone to tears? Get some donuts and B.Y.O.F.F! (Bring your own fun and fellowship).
Because it doesn’t matter what the event is. It makes no difference if it actually is fun or any real fellowship occurs. If it’s happening in a church you’re going to have food, fun and fellowship. You may find some truly daring churches that add a fourth “F” word. It could be faith, forgiveness, family; the sky is the limit…as long as it begins with the letter “F!” (Except that word, get your mind out of the gutter). ;)
Here are some examples of churches advertising the three F’s:
This church matched a cute graphic icon with each word:
The men of First Baptist know how to do it. A chef’s hat, meat, music, crosses, an angled closeup photo of a Bible so you know that this BBQ with live music will not be without scripture!
This youth group took the concept and added Rock-em Sock-em robots. Look closely: they’ve got food but their fun is “crazy fun,” they offer games and a “Fellowship Night.” Notice the hours of this fellowship “night” are 4pm-7pm but hey, it’s gonna be crazy fun so who cares?
This ad left out the fellowship but included another “F” word, fire. And of course the Bible. Nothing goes with games, music and food over a giant blazing bonfire like carrying around your Bible.
Come for the food, fun and fellowship. Stay for the lion taming act.
This church just straight up went “F’ing” crazy: