the Christmas season just gone by, one major American retailer offered a brilliant
new innovation: wake-up calls recorded by celebrities to alert customers it
was time to get up and shop. As if we needed reminding.

Target chain offered customers the opportunity to sign up to receive a wide
variety of wake-up telephone calls the morning after Thanksgiving, considered
one of the busiest shopping days of the year. (I wouldn’t know, given that I
was still sleeping off my unsuccessful battle with a relentless pumpkin pie.)
That day, Target stores opened at 6:00 am – which is somewhat earlier than my
heart typically starts beating – and customers could get their wake-up calls
as early as 4:00 am. (Frankly, up until now I didn’t realize there was
a 4:00 am.)

wake-up calls were recorded by celebrities like rapper Ice-T, supermodel Heidi
Klum, and Star Wars villain Darth Vader. (Sorry, but the Target marketing budget
couldn’t handle the cost of actual stars.) Call-recipients also had the option
of receiving calls from a crowing rooster and crying baby, along with other
choices. Yep, if I was going to get up at 4:00 am, I think I’d enjoy hearing
from a supermodel or a crying baby.

don’t know if the wake-up call gimmick enabled Target stores to ring up lots
of additional sales – as best I can determine, the celebrity callers didn’t
warn customers about the dangers of sneaking over to Wal-Mart. But the whole
idea made me wonder if we should try something similar in the church.

pastor knows that there are members who sleep in on Sunday morning instead of
making it to worship at their local congregation. Perhaps we need to start providing
wake-up calls to folks that will help them get up and get moving on Sunday morning.

just think of the celebrity callers (and their messages) we could use!

“I’m asking you to step out of your bed and make your way to
the front of your bathroom, and start getting ready for church. Don’t worry,
the buses will wait.”

“It’s time to get up and think positively. Have a be-happy
attitude and get a move on to church.”

“Once upon a time there was a church. So get up and go there
to hear the rest of the story.”

“Looking for purpose in your life? Then get that lazy body
out of bed and get ready for church.”

maybe we could just get everyone an alarm clock that sounds like a crying baby.


Duduit is Editor of
Preaching magazine and President of American Ministry
Resources. You can write to him at michael@preaching.com, or visit his website
at www.michaelduduit.com.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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