- Michael W. Newman
New Starts for New People
I stayed at a new Home2 Suites hotel the other day. It’s a fairly new hotel brand in the Hilton family of hotels. Hilton Worldwide had not launched a new brand in twenty years. So, why the new start? One important reason: new starts reach new people.
For under a hundred bucks, the brand new facility had a new look and feel for a new generation of customers. The name is cool and welcoming. The décor is everything people are seeing on HGTV. The setup of the rooms appeals to people who need workspace and lots of recharging stations for devices, and who desire simple functionality versus ornate and outmoded design.
Home2 Suites appeals to the current generation’s desire for community. It’s “Oasis” open lobby area features a flexible environment where guests can socialize. The new brand appeals to the current generation’s desire for customizable options as it offers flexible breakfast choices and moveable room furnishings. Home2 Suites also uses environmentally responsible materials and practices in order to align itself with the new trend of sustainability.
The new brand has been a fast-growing success story. New customers are being reached because of this new start for a new generation.
Notice that Hilton didn’t throw away its core values or compromise the heart of the hospitality industry. It simply started something for a new time and new people.
For years, studies have shown that new churches reach new people better than existing churches. New faith communities with wide open opportunities, new looks, new names, fresh practices, new demographic focal points, and current appeal connect with new people. With core values maintained and the heart of the Gospel uncompromised, new starts show attentiveness and care to people outside the church. They say, “We care about you enough to listen to you, to relate to you in a meaningful way, to make room for you and to let your voice be heard.”
These new starts can be independent congregations. They may take the form of off-site gatherings started by a local congregation, churches within churches, preaching stations, or even internet gatherings. The central point is: new starts connect with new people. And let’s admit it, lots of new people need the Good News of God’s grace in Jesus.
What if we don’t start new things? Well, consider the Howard Johnson chain. One quote I read about it said, “A combination of no vision, no reinvestment of capital, aging restaurants, a stale menu, lack of marketing or new ideas, and competition from other chains had taken their toll.” The chain collapsed. Nothing new brought no one new.
What path shall we walk? What best demonstrates the love of Jesus and the faithful stewardship of His gifts?