The Grand Rapids Lip Dub – If You Film It, Will They Come?

This video is cool. Really, really, cool.  If you have already seen it, read on.  If you haven’t, take a minute (nearly 10 actually, but they’ll be worth it) to watch this and then we’ll talk…

Pretty cool, huh?!  I can’t imagine how much work went into this.  I can’t imagine how much money was spent on this.  I wonder if when it’s all said and done the people involved will feel like it “worked.”  I’m making some assumptions here, but I would guess that part of the hope for this video was that it would spark tourism and maybe even business development in Grand Rapids.  Maybe someone even said or thought, “If we film this, they will come.”

I think the video is pretty cool, but it isn’t enough to make me want to go to Grand Rapids; definitely not to live, probably not even to even visit.

What would it take to get me to visit Grand Rapids?

Someone I know, for whom I have a great deal of trust, would have to exhibit significant enthusiasm about Grand Rapids and invite me to come.  Honestly, they’d probably have to invite me a number of times before I got around to taking them up on their invitation.

All of this has me thinking about the marketing that we do for churches.  We can produce cool videos, print catchy postcards, and do viral (we hope) things on the web.  But we have to ask ourselves, do people come to church because of the energy and resources we put into such projects?


Ok, probably not.

Probably not many, anyway…

People are the most likely to visit our churches when people for whom they have a great deal of trust exhibit significant enthusiasm about the church and invite them to come, often repeatedly.

So maybe our work needs to be more focused on cultivating disciples who are well trusted by others and who exhibit enthusiasm about what God is doing in and through their churches.

Maybe if we can build this, then they’ll come.



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6 responses to “The Grand Rapids Lip Dub – If You Film It, Will They Come?

  1. John Vinke

    Sheri went to college in Grand Rapids. It’s a cool town and she still has friends there. Western Michigan in general is a really nice place to live and visit.

    I would definitely agree that the video appeals more to the people that already know about Grand Rapids than the people who never heard of it, and in that regard is similar to church marketing.

    On the other hand, it’s an amusing enough video that some people who never heard of the place before now have.

    • Jeff Clinger

      John Vinke telling me that Grand Rapids is a nice place to live and visit is an effective endorsement!

      I appreciate your insights and don’t disagree that the video, in it’s cleverness and sheer scale, will likely get people talking. And maybe that was the point. However, I do wonder if a lot of people will move to and/or visit Grand Rapids (if that was the point) as a result of the video.

  2. JR

    Perhaps this can clear up the confusion. This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a “dying city.” We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. We felt Don McLean’s “American Pie,” a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope.” – Rob Bliss, Director & Executive Producer

    This $40,000 production was entirely financed by the generosity of local sponsors .

    Proud to live and work in GR!

    • Jeff Clinger

      Thanks for your comment and clarification, Rob. Your response even further encourages me in my thinking, a video in and of itself would not be enough to encourage me to visit Grand Rapids. However, you taking the time to comment and to do so with passion does peak my curiosity.

      I thoroughly enjoyed the video and imagine it was a blast to put together!

      • JR

        Jeff – the people I know who were part of the video said it was a blast and will never forget the experience. Myself, I was planting the home garden due to the rain date. Grand Rapids (GR) has a great deal going for it that is not shown in this video. Besides the Medical Mile (just above the opening sequence) and manufacturing, GR is a huge supporter of the arts – Festival of the Arts (last weekend 400,000 people), ArtPrize in Sept., Celebration on the Grand, festivals for every nationality, weekly blues concerts and dancing in the streets. If you want an outsider’s opinion, you will get people into your church by living as an example. People respect those who show respect for them. People want to be respected for who they are. Simple as that.

  3. Teresa

    Interesting perspective and wise words, Jeff.

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