SAMPLE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
By J.P. Apple
There May be a hundred effective ways to share the good news about God’s love in Christ, Sooner or later they will result in one-on-one conversation with someone who needs to hear a good word from someone else who already knows one.
Sometimes before the environment is right for the personal conversation, something else needs to happen first, That some. thing else could mean getting the individual’s attention.
In Allen County (Lima and surrounding communities), the attentlon-getter, beginning this month and running through the end of January 1995, will be a series of newspaper advertisements. The hope is that unchurched people, seekers, or inactive Christians will find their curiosity aroused by at least one–or, It’s hoped. several–of the weekly displays in the Lima News.
Lima’s daily newspaper reaches more than 40.000 homes. Display advertising is not inexpensive in this metropolitan daily, but neither is it unaffordable-when several congregations pool their resources.
This has happened in Lima, Seven ELCA oongregations are jointly sponsoring the series of 21 display ads. With their combined buying power (less than $400 from each congregation for the entire five-month campaign), a weekly 13-column inch message will appear somewhere in the Saturday edition of the News.
The “somewhere” is part of the strategy. The ads are written to address a variety of interests and concerns. They relate to the editorial contents of various parts of the newspaper. Hence, one week an ad may appear in the sports section, the next week in the news section, the next week on the weather page, the next week on the page where television listings appear.
The one place the ads will not appear is on the “church page” where such advertising typically shows up.
The idea is to keep the ads moving, so that they appear in a variety of settings. Someone who fails to see the Lutheran ad one week may well be caught by it the following week. And, those who like to watch what’s going on in the sections of their newspaper, may find it an interesting game to see where “that Lutheran ad” will show up next,
The entire series (a sample of which appears, actual size, on this page) focuses on the benefits that God provides through Christ. The language is deliberately valled, so that a “religious” message does not hit the reader over the head. Rather, a more subtle “think about this, then check it out’ appeal is made.
The ad series was designed by the Rev. Michael Sharer, the synod’s communication director, and pastor of one of the ELCA Congregations in Allen County. A sampling of ads that will appear in the September-January, every-Saturday series includes-the following:
Obituary page: If you could write your own obituary, what would you want it to say? Actually, we all do write our own Obituary–day by day. Let us help you learn the secret of living a life that writes a story anybody can be proud of.
Weather page: You can’t keep storms out of your fife. Let us help you find a way to weather them successfully.
Sports section: The only consistently winning team we know is coached by A carpenter. Let us help you got acquainted with him.
Entertainment section: How many times have you watched something on television that truly changed your life? Let us Introduce you to someone who changes lives for the better every single day.
Business section: A millionaire was once asked, “How much money will you need before you’ll have enough?” His answer was, ‘Just a little more”.” Let us show you how to lay claim to the greatest treasure in the universe.
News section: There’s plenty of bad news in the world. If you’re ready for some good news, we can show you where to find It.
Entertainment section: A good movie can be a great escape. The greatest escape in history was guaranteed on a cross outside the Jerusalem city wall in AD. 33. Let us show you how to be part of the adventure.
Congregations wishing more information or seeking permission to use the Allen County ad campaign in their community may indicate their interest to the synod’s communication director at the office of the bishop in Findlay.
1. Obituary page. 10 Sept.
If you could write our own obituary, what would you want it to say?
Actually, we all do write our own obituary — day by day.
Let us help you learn the secret of living a life that writes a story anybody can be proud of.
2. Weather page. 17 Sept.
You can’t keep storms out of your life.
Let us help you find a way to weather them successfully.
3. Sports section. 24 Sept.
The only consistently winning team we know is coached by a carpenter.
Let us help you get acquainted with him.
4. Entertainment section. 1 Oct.
How many times have you watched something on television that truly changed your life?
Let us introduce you to someone who changes lives for the better every single day.
5. Business section. 8 Oct.
A millionaire was once asked, ‘How much money will you need before you’ll have enough?” His answer was, ‘Just a little more.’
Let us show you how to lay claim to the greatest treasure in the universe.
6. News section. 15 Oct.
There’s plenty of bad news in the world.
If you’re ready for some good news, we can show you where to find it.
7. Obituary page. 22 Oct.
Death can come at any time.
Once you’ve prepared for it, life becomes far richer.
Let us help you to be ready — for dying and for living.
8. Weather page. 29 Oct.
The weather can be unpredictable. You can rarely count on it.
What you can count on is the One who holds the weather systems in his hand,
We’d like to help you get to know him.
9. Sports section. 5 Nov.
Athletes who can’t cut the mustard any more aren’t worth much.
What are you worth to anybody?
Let us introduce you to someone who believes the value of your life is beyond measure.
10. Entertainment section. 12 Nov.
A good movie can be a great escape.
The greatest escape in history was guaranteed on a cross outside the Jerusalem city wall in AD 33.
Let us show you how to be a part of the adventure.
11. Business section. 19 Nov.
Can you name the richest people in the world?
Would it surprise you to Know that some of them have no investment portfolio at all’?
Let us introduce you to a more satisfying definition of wealth.
12. News section. 26 Nov.
Corporate greed. Public dishonesty. Murder and assault.
Can you trust anybody anymore?
Let us introduce you to the most trustworthy person you’ll ever meet.
13. Sports section. 3 Dec.
Whose team are you on anyway?
God wants you on his.
Let us tell you how to join the winning side, in the only contest that really counts.
14. Entertainment section. 10 Dec.
Too much violence in movies and on television?
God used one of the most violent acts in history for good.
Read about it in the Bible, chapter 15 in the book of Mark. Then let us tell you what it means for your future.
15. Weather page. 17 Dec.
Fair weather can create a false sense of security.
Let us tell you about someone who can keep you secure even when things get downright dangerous out there.
16. News section. 24 Dec.
What’s the best way to deal with your enemies?
Pardon the expression, but you have to love the hell out of them.
Let us introduce you to the One who wrote the book on love.
17. Entertainment section. 31 Dec.
When the ratings tumble, they kill the program.
The only program that makes any difference has an unbelievable storyline, and an ending that’s out of this world.
Let us show you how to be a part of it.
18. News section. 7 Jan.
Your best friend is really out to get you!
He goes by the name “Good Shepherd,’ and he has his reasons.
Let us show you how good it can get.
19. Business section. 14 Jan.
Successfully climbing the ladder can bring a lot of satisfaction.
But what if the ladder turns out to be planted on shaky ground?
Let us introduce you to the One who offers the only sure foundation in the universe.
20. Ann Landers advice page. 21 Jan.
Where does a person have to go to get a little respect?
Come and meet the One who has an unconditionally high regard for you as a person.
21. Obituary page. 28 Jan.
What will they say about you after you’re gone? If you don’t like how the answer’s coming out, there’s still time for a rewrite.
Let us tell you about the One, who makes lives worth remembering.
==================================================================THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE LUTHERAN, SEPTEMBER, 1994.