In the mid-1980’s Jeff moved to Montgomery, AL and before long he was doing 30 second TV ads. I was enthralled. I’d watched dad use television via his 30-minute program (The Living Word, 1966-2010) since I was four years old. But 30 seconds: People wouldn’t choose to not watch or change the channel when they saw it was a religious program. And, you could be in the middle of most any program, M*A*S*H, Cheers, the evening news, the N.B.A. Playoffs, and, boom, there would be an ad for the church. Plus, you could say a lot in 30 seconds - Open doors, give invites, share the news, give a quick thought on a Bible verse. Amazing. So, you won’t be shocked to know I imitated him, stole his scripts, added some of my own, went on local location in our town. We filmed 30-35 thirty-second commercials in one day. We showed them on local cable. Bought 300 commercials a month on Intermedia Cable. After a few months, I got a call from the Vice-President of WSMV, the local NBC affiliate. They wanted to discuss advertising with them. We began a healthy relationship that has continued to this day.
In that meeting with a couple of VP’s and high-pressure salesmen I listened to their "way to high-priced package" offer and then they asked me an unexpected, but natural question. “Who is your target audience?” My answer in a minute.
The Director of Sports Marketing for Nike tells about Phil “Shoe Dog” Knight, founder of Nike and one of the 10 richest men in the world. Knight was trying to open the shoe market in China. She recalls him saying: "There are 2 billion feet out there, Go get them!”
We’ve all heard the joke about the two shoe salesmen who were sent to a third world country. One man calls his wife the moment he lands, telling her, “Honey, I’m coming back home. There’s no hope here. Nobody here is wearing shoes, so there’s no one to sell to.” He boards the next flight home. The second man calls his wife and says, “Honey, you wouldn’t believe what I found here. There is so much opportunity. No one here is wearing shoes. I can sell to the whole country!”
I told my new media friend: “I know we are different and you may not understand it, but our demographic is …. everyone.” It was hard to get them to see and it understand it. They wanted to narrow our audience and hone our market but there is no person out there who we do not want to reach and who the Gospel of Grace cannot save. I know for some of you it seems some days there is no one to teach and it is impossible to reach - but don’t quit. For the Power is still in the Gospel, and God is still in the long-suffering, waiting for sinners to come to Him stage. What a God! What a market! Your market out there is 7.6 billion plus. Don’t quit. Don’t quit.