‘Real Redemption’ Sparks National Publicity
An FIEC church looking to connect with its community has been given a publicity boost beyond its leaders’ dreams after their latest poster appeared not only in a national newspaper – but also went viral on social media. Rachel Dalby explains.
Paul Rees, the Lead Pastor at Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh, was surprised when he received a call from The Scottish Sun inviting him to comment on the popularity of the church’s latest poster advertising their Sunday services.
The Chapel’s staff team came up with the idea which has resulted in national publicity.
It started when Rockstar – a video game company based in Edinburgh – put a huge advert over some scaffolding opposite the church building for their new game called Red Dead Redemption II. It’s a much-hyped and long-awaited computer game, promising players the chance to role-play their way through an ‘epic battle for survival’ in the Wild West of America.
Paul said the advert was dominating the skyline, so they wanted to do something in response. He explained:
“For a couple of hours every lunchtime we have the church building open with some volunteer members there to welcome visitors, show them around the building and try to share something about the gospel and invite them to church.
“One of those members is David Wilson who remarked that we needed to do something to respond to the video game advert so that people can know that we are in to real-life redemption. Our pastor in training Matt Holden came up with our poster and we have been amazed about how many people have noticed it and commented on it through social media.”
One stranger’s tweet which included a photo of Charlotte Chapel’s poster received more than 13,000 likes with almost 4,000 retweets.
Soon Paul was handling enquiries from the national media. Charlotte Chapel’s poster has now been featured on The Scottish Sun’s website, fuelling more interest on social media. That led to it being shared by a social media company in London which now means their poster has had more than 500,000 online views.
“To be honest I have no clue about the video game itself; but just seeing the word redemption splattered on a big poster next to our church seemed a great opportunity to point people to Jesus who truly can redeem people’s lives. And The Sun journalist was kind enough to keep one of my sentences in his piece welcoming people to come to Charlotte Chapel.
“We want to connect the good news of Jesus Christ to the hundreds of thousands of people in our city with no connection to any gospel church. This has been a big eye opener to see how much of a reach our poster boards have outside our building.
“As the game has just come out, gamers will probably still be playing it for a couple of weekends yet. But who knows, after they get bored with it they might still remember the church poster and consider Jesus.
“Church members say they’ve had conversations with work colleagues because of our redemption poster. I think it will be interesting to see how this might be used to make connections with people in the city over the coming months.”