The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


ELCA marketing plan targets boomers, Xers

Baby boomers (born from 1946-1964) long for "traditional values in raising children." Generation Xers (who follow the boomers) want "connection amid diversity." Staff from Periscope Marketing Communications in Minneapolis shared those observations with the ELCA Church Council prior to the council's endorsement of the ELCA Identity Program.

When research showed a lack of awareness of Lutheranism among the general population, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America hired Periscope to design a media campaign and related materials. Knowing that the ELCA membership comprises largely that generation born in 1945 or earlier--the Matures--Periscope designed TV ads to reach boomers and Xers. These ads can be placed by local congregations or groups of churches. The council previewed sample TV ads.

Council advisory member Curtis Miller, bishop of the Western Iowa Synod, said, "The Mormon TV ads offer an 800-number. Do we want to have an E-mail address and phone number?"

Eric Shafer, executive director of the ELCA Department for Communication, said, "We plan to do that. We're thinking of whether we should staff the 800-number 24 hours a day. We want to help people find a local congregation."

In other business, the council:

  • Approved a 1998 ELCA spending authorization of $77,575,000 and a World Hunger spending authorization of $12,400,000.
  • Allocated $700,000 to begin implementing the Initiatives to Prepare for a New Century, affirmed by the 1997 Churchwide Assembly.
  • Requested that ELCA units and boards increase and sustain the numbers of women and people from various ethnic communities who are hired and/or serve on boards and committees.


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