January 29, 2011

my afternoon as a "telemarketer"

As our church is working on discerning their vision and mission, we have felt led to get some input from the community.  We want to know what others think about the needs in our midst, what they feel about the church's role in our community, and what they might like to offer to help meet those needs. 

So our grand idea was to have a phone bank. 

We created a script.
We got some volunteers.
We put a notice in the paper that we would be calling folks.
We organized some yummy treats.

And then we got together to actually do it. 

Our numbers were small, but mighty. 

We practiced our phone calls with one another, edited our script, divided up the phone book for our community and our list of inactive/less active members, and set to work.

*ring, ring* = voicemail

*ring, ring* = no answer

*do, do, do* = this number has been disconnected. 

*hello, I'm calling from the Methodist Church... CLICK*

My cell phone only records the last 20 calls I made, so I have no idea exactly how many I did make... but it was well over 20.  I talked in person with only four individuals.

Others in our group had much better luck.  Two other women talked with at least seven people.  The lone man in our small bunch had well over 13 responses. (Which makes me wonder about whether people are more willing to talk to an older man than a young woman who just might be a telemarketer selling something)

We talked with folks who were churched and unchurched, young and old, who lived in town and in the country. Probably 70% of the people we recieved information from people indicated that their top concern was the youth of our town.  It was amazing to have such a common response, although it was spoken of in a few different ways.

We ended the afternoon tired, worn out, but feeling like some good listening occured.  It wasn't the way I usually think of a church group spending the day, but I think we heard from a few people we probably never would have talked to.

Our next step is a lunch with community leaders to get their perspectives about how the church can better support/encourage what they are doing and what needs they also see. 

It's quite a journey!!!

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