How do you sell hot dogs to people who only eat tacos?
From a purely objective perspective, hot dogs look weird. The idea that meat can be compressed into a tube, set on a bun, and covered in condiments is not intuitive. It’s an act of genius, but it’s a tough sell if the desired customer has no familiarity with the product.
In many ways, starting a church in an “under-churched” area is like introducing a new product to an unfamiliar market. What can make it even more challenging is if there is already a beloved product that dominates the market. Like tacos.
It would be a near miraculous feat to convince someone who has only ever eaten tacos to experience a hot dog. It can be equally difficult to get someone whose life already looks pretty good to repent and believe in Jesus.
We don’t get a lot of negative pushback when we share that we are starting a church. We don’t receive hate mail or heated opposition. People don’t challenge our convictions or engage in apologetic arguments.
They simply dismiss the product.
Why would someone who loves tacos try a hot dog?
Why would someone whose life “works” have to change their mind (repent) and put their trust (believe) in something foreign and unfamiliar (the gospel)?
One of the biggest challenges in establishing City Coast is figuring out the best way to market this new church in an under-churched area.
We can’t assume people have heard of hot dogs or that simply putting up a billboard would create an appetite for them. Even with the offer of “free hot dogs” it’s difficult to get a taco-customer to stop by the stand. And we can’t assume that our restaurant will generate a local following, “regulars” if you will, with just one sample.
People need to see that eating hot dogs yields better fruit than eating tacos.
[And, yes, this is definitely where the metaphor falls apart]
Jesus generated a small initial following of deeply devoted believers. Over time, that group became the living embodiment of what it looked like to repent and believe in the gospel.
The group became a movement, and the movement continues to this day in Fairfield County. It feels a bit like Sam I Am with his green eggs and ham. We just keep plugging away, and looking for the right people to “try them, try them” so they’ll see.
We aren’t ashamed of selling hot dogs, and we’re starting to see people really enjoy them.