How to Win Raving, Life-Long Fans

In case you haven’t noticed from my recent posts, tweets, and Facebook updates, I’m a Milwaukee Brewers fan. Don’t stop reading just yet, because this post really isn’t about that. It’s about fans in general.

Have you ever noticed how a winning team draws far more fans than a losing team? I’ve been noticing a great many more Brewers’ T-shirts, hats, and clothing around our fair city. I guess that’s evidence of what many long time fans would call “bandwagon fans.”

I’ve noticed a goodly number of family and friends who haven’t cared too much about the Milwaukee Brewers in recent years, let alone early this very summer. And yet it seems that they have become raving fans now that the team has seen success. I noticed it already in 2008, the last time the Brewers went to the playoffs. There seemed to be more evidence of fans late in that summer. Now that the team has made the League Championship Series, the evidence of fandom around the city is greater than ever.

Some long-time, dedicated fans resent fair-weather, bandwagon fans. I used to be that way, too. But I’m changing my mind about that. I’m noticing that the winning and excitement is an entree to true fandom. People who, in the past, only paid cursory attention to the sport, are now learning more, engaging more, and caring more. Many are going to be baseball fans for years to come.

There are lessons in all of this for churches*, non-profits, and small businesses:

  1. Create energy and excitement. A neighborhood event, article in the local newspaper, or creative energy around regular happenings draw attention and win “fair-weather fans.”
  2. Take advantage of the energy and excitement of newfound “fans.” No one has more energy in your organization than a new, raving fan. Use that energy to create even more attention and buzz.
  3. Take that growing energy and excitement to tired and worn out members and employees. Energy and excitement is contagious. When long time members and employees see a newfound  spark in others, it’s inspiration for their own renewal. Intentionally put newfound “fans” together with your long time “fans.”
  4. Cultivate sustained energy and excitement through creative use of well-planned events. Intentional forward planning and well-spaced events sustain both new and old “fans” for the long haul.
If you had one chance to create a raving “fan,” how would you do it?

*Please note: Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes hearts, makes Christians, and enables the sanctified life. However, there is certainly human choice in terms of choosing a local church or identifying with a specific congregation. Any human “success” is only the result of God’s grace and mercy to sinners.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “How to Win Raving, Life-Long Fans

  1. These are good points, but point number three also raises a question.

    It’s easy to say that the enthusiasm of newcomers will rub off on established members, but you’ve undoubtedly also seen the reverse: the established members who resent — and sometimes even fear — that changes that almost inevitably accompany a sizable influx of newcomers.

    How can we communicate the enthusiasm to all members of the congregation?

    • That’s true….and it’s another blog post altogether. But I think the short answer is to introduce the change new “fans” bring in small, easy to swallow steps, incrementally bringing everyone along into new and creative territory.