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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Flash Mob Evangelism

A friend sent me this video of 'flash mob' that recently happened at Newburyport, MA. A large group of mostly women danced to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way".

At the end of the very enthusiastic performance, many of the folks who were dancing took off their zippered hoodies to reveal T-shirts advertizing a local dance company.

It looked like great fun. And, it got a little advertizing for a local community dance troop.

Granted, Newburyport is a wonderful, funky, seaport kinda town, but if a 'flash mob' can happen there it can happen anywhere.

Which got me to thinking.

According to Wiki, a 'flash mob' is . . .
. . . a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire.Flash mobs are organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails. The term, coined in 2003, is generally not applied to events and performances organized for the purposes of politics (such as protests), commercial advertisement, publicity stunts that involve public relation firms, or paid professionals.
I suspect that YouTube is a big part of what has made these sorts of things very popular.

So, here's my thought: What if a church group organized a 'flash mob'?

No, really. Think of it.

One possible version would be to have several choirs combine to create a 'flash mob' at a local shopping mall. They could perform a wonderful cantata or, perhaps, a spirited version of Amazing Grace. Lots of harmony. Rich, full sounds.

I love this 'flash mob' of the Alleluia Chorus at a Food Court.

Or, it could just be people dancing to recorded music. I love this flash mob from "The Sound of Music" at Central Station Antwerp (Belgium)

Another version would be to have a youth group - or combined youth groups - dance to, say, the Monkees "I'm A Believer". Or, REM's "Losing My Religion". Or, Kanye West's, "Jesus Walks".

The practices could be great fun - especially in the summer - and give these kids a fun way to do evangelism. Sort of like "Glee" for Church Youth Groups.

Here's the evangelism part: At the end of the 'flash mob', everyone takes off their hoodies to display their T-shirts that say on the front, "St. Swithins Episcopal Church" (or, whatever) and on the back, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You."

I think it could be great fun, and it just might wake up a few souls to say to each other, "Hey, let's go check out St. Swithin's one day."

Or, maybe, just maybe, the next time the sky falls, they'll remember that St. Swithins was out there, in the community, surprising people with joy and creativity.

Of course, once you get them into church, you'll have to have something to keep them there, but that's a topic for another discussion on another day.

It seems a better idea to me than most curricula I've read for most "Vacation Bible Schools" which seemed designed for the pre-K group. This one could be inter-generational and lots of fun.

A 'flash mob' for Jesus.

I think He'd like it, don't you?


Matthew said...

I love it. There was another recent flash mob in the news a couple of days ago. A group of conservatives were meeting at a conference in Minneapolis. A group of Muslim women all wearing veils walked into the assembly and then left. Apparently some anti Islamic rhetoric at the conference had been reported in the paper.

FLB said...

Second Baptist Church in Houston produced a flash mob-like event this past Easter, for a shoe drive. You can see it by searching YouTube for "second baptist dance your shoes off" or click here:

PseudoPiskie said...

Bach Choir of Pittsburgh was part of a multi-city "flashmob" at Macy's annual meeting all done via computer hookup. When the chair said they had posted a profit, he asked for a Hallelujah and choirs all across the country sang together. fun.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mathew - that's GREAT.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

FLB - This looks like it was done in church - or, am I getting the wrong video. I'm talking about doing something in public - a mall, a food court, a market.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Pseudo - That's great, too. Let's get some churches involved in this kind of movement.

whiteycat said...

I suggested this to my church last Advent. The response was "what a great idea!" Then it prompyly went no where.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Show them this, Whiteycat. Maybe they'll hear it anew.

Janababe said...

A "Flash mob for Jesus." What a great idea, Elizabeth. Please post a link when you get this done!

Will said...

Uh, wasn't that part of the Gospel message? By the gift of the Spirit isn't that what we are supposed to be doing? What greater story is there?

You are relentless in your exhortation, which I think is part of your calling (and I admire that).

Of course, I think you've upped the ante for better choreography, floor patterns and music. Perhaps one of the numbers from The Book of Mormon score?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Relentless? I like the sound of that. I do love the stories of all the persistent women in Scripture.

I think, "I Believe" from the Book of Mormon would be FANTASTIC.

Brother David said...

I enjoy this little flash mob video performed after Easter in a mixed culture country. It could easily have gotten them killed had they done this in a neighboring nation. This is at a food court in a mall in Beirut, Lebanon.

Jesus is Risen

PS - we would need to rewrite most of the lyrics to I Belive, but it could be fun.

Brother David said...

This is what Padre Bosco Peters says is happing in the Lebanon video.

It starts, “This is the Day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

Then it goes to the Paschal Troparion in Arabic and Greek:

المسيح قام من بين الأموات
و وطئ الموت بالموت
و وهب الحياة
للذين في القبور

Masīh qām min baīni’l-amwāt  Wa wati’ al-mawt bi’l-mawt Wa wahab al-hayāt Lil-ladhīna fī’l-qubūr!

Χριστός Ανέστη εκ νεκρών, θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας και τοις εν τοις μνήμασιν, ζωήν χαρισάμενος.

Christos Anesti ek nekron thanato thanaton patisas ke tis en tis mnimasi, zoin kharisamenos.

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life.

I am sorry that the I Believe video starts at the very end. Here is a proper link;

Frair John said...

It sounds one of those really good ideas that I don't have the skills to pull off. Give me a when, a where and a what and I'm all over it.

FLB said...

In reference to response to my earlier comment. -- No. Second Baptist Church, Houston performed a flash mob-like even at Discovery Green (large urban park) in Downtown Houston.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Me, too, Friar.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

FLB - Thanks for the clarification

Peaceful Pilgrim said...

I may be a few years too late to enter this conversation, but just in case you're still inspired with this idea, you might like to watch a flash mob we did for our Church when we were up in Preston UK. You can watch it here: