Frequently Asked Questions: New 'God is Still Speaking' ad set to spiral on April 16
What will the new Stillspeaking video message be like?
Called "The Language of God," the new 90-second video commercial invites people to explore more deeply what it means when, in the United Church of Christ, we say "God is still speaking," Through a rapid-paced experience of images, music and soundscapes, the ad encourages us to broaden our concept of when, where and how God is speaking in the world.
Is this an "advertisement" similar to our previous Bouncer, Ejector or Steeples ads?
Unlike our past ads, "The Language of God" is an experience more than a product advertisement. Most, we believe, will interpret "Language" as a pastoral message that invites exploration of the prophetic and sacramental sightings of God's handiwork. "Language" celebrates the outward and visible signs of God's grace that may too often go unnamed and unclaimed by religious people.
The prominent theme in our first series of ads emphasized an extravagant welcome to those who have felt excluded or rejected by institutionalized religion. The prominent theme in "The Language of God" focuses on reintroducing people to a God that can be found and celebrated in all of life. In short, "sacred" + "secular" = "Stillspeaking God!"
Is it controversial?
More than sparking controversy, the hope is that it will ignite joy and wonder. The overall goal is to pique curiosity in a church that sees and hears God at work in diverse, out-of-the-ordinary and whimsical ways. Since "The Language of God" invites people to contemplate a God that is still speaking in the world, some may find imagery that resonates more or less with their understanding/interpretation of this proclamation.
Can we see the ad early so we can decide if we want to use or share it on April 16?
Surely everyone will reserve judgment until they have seen the new ad — this is understandable. But by releasing the new ad to everyone at the same time we are increasing the likelihood that our viral launch will build anticipation and eventually spiral with enthusiasm — not trickle out slowly.
What will happen on April 16?
At 9 a.m. ET, a special edition of Keeping You ePosted will share the new ad with our more than 60,000 subscribers, appear on the UCC's Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube pages, and be available at ucc.org If you do not receive Keeping You ePosted, sign up here. The "viral" aspect of our campaign will then depend on the commitment and creativity of our supporters.
How should we get ready for the new ad?
• First, tell people in your church about April 16 and explain the power (and affordability) of viral messaging on the internet, especially if people-power is involved. Just consider the math: The UCC has 25,386 fans on Facebook. If each posts "The Language of God" for their Facebook friends to see, it will reach 3,554,040 viewers in minutes. And if just a fraction of these re-post it, even millions more will learn of the UCC.
• Second, promote April 16 by ordering this special promotional card that helps explain what exactly will happen that day. It's only $5 per packet of 100 (plus S&H) and available from United Church of Christ Resources (800-537-3394). Or download here.
• Third, host an after-church seminar so that someone knowledgeable in social networking can show others in your church about Facebook, YouTube, etc. and how to "share" something for others. While not everyone will want to become involved in the social networking sphere, they can get excited knowing that others soon will learn about the UCC because of it.
• Fourth, on April 11, celebrate those who will participate in the April 16 viral launch. Ask them to stand and bless/consecrate their hands for sharing!
• Fifth, ready your church to welcome newcomers. Send a press release or call a reporter and ask them to cover your church's participation in the viral launch on April 16. Seek local publicity for this national event. Present your church as ready to embrace technology and marshal its people to seek out and others.
• Sixth, following the ad's launch on April 16, a new "Stillspeaking Voices" campaign also will launch. This will be an opportunity for UCC members and supporters to opt-in individually in the Stillspeaking Movement and get involved personally. The goal is for every Stillspeaking church to enlist 10 percent of its members to become Stillspeaking Voices.
• Seventh, for local church webmasters: "The Language of God" will be embedded on a YouTube player so that we can count the number of viewers. We request you do the same by embedding the same YouTube version so we're tracking viewer counts together no matter where people see the ad. If you have questions, contact our webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Eighth, order a DVD copy of "The Language of God" for your church or family for $7.95 by calling 800-537-3394. Orders placed before April 11 will be shipped for a Friday, April 16 arrival.