It was 6.15am. No one should be sitting on a plane parked up on a plane stand at that hour, but I was! Usually when I fly I like to just keep myself busy knowing what’s going on! I like to peer down the aisle into the cockpit when the door is open trying to see what the pilot and first officer are up to before the door is finally closed for taxi and take-off. I like to watch the air stewards & stewardesses running (not literally) up and down the aisle making preparations. I like to look backwards and forwards over the seats at people as they yo-yo up and down trying to make sure they’ve got everything they want for the flight out of the over-head lockers. And, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but sometimes I even nose into people’s conversations to see what’s on order in people’s lives that day or try and read someone else’s newspaper without them noticing!
But instead of going through my normal routine I fiddled in the pocket in front of me and pulled out the most interesting item – the easyJet magazine! Yes, the easyJet magazine! I guess for some people it’s great entertainment (or maybe just the best there is); but not particularly for me.
As I began to flick through the pages I noticed that there were different sections: greetings from the Chief Executive, some random pictures and general information about upcoming European festivals, a few stories that made me smirk, travel stories from around the world (or should I say – stories from places easyJet flies to!), a section on food, a few features on European cities that I supposedly shouldn’t miss visiting but probably never will, and even a colourful article on football amongst other things.
Then there were the ads. Women’s perfume, men’s perfume (which I never knew existed – only joking), luxury apartments to buy, cheap hostels to stay in etc. You name it, it was there. Well, not quite, but nearly.
As I finished flicking through the whole magazine it occurred to me what easyJet had done to their magazine – they had tried to market it to everyone. There was something for the businessman /business woman, there was something for the student, the family with kids, the family without kids, the single female the single male, the rich, the poor, the hungry & thirsty, people who like the arts, people who like sports, entertainment junkies – the whole spectrum. Whoever picked up the magazine was meant to find something of interest to them, something that would catch their attention when the nonchalantly picked it up and quickly flicked through the pages.
As I reflected on this experience I began to consider our church and how we view the church. Is the church a place for ‘saints’, or a place for sinners? Is it a place that should be for everyone or for a select few? What about our outreach programmes; do we attract a particular group of people, for example, the middle class, or are we good at reaching out to everyone? Should we even try to reach out to everyone with the limited resources that we often have, or should we concentrate on a ‘niche market’ (oh, I hate that phrase!)? How do our children and teens fit in? Or don’t they. Is there something for them that really is for them? Like the easyJet magazine should we have a menu for everyone who in interested in Adventism or should we continue to appeal to the more intellectual mind? My guess is that we would answer some of those questions differently.
As we landed in London Stansted and I made my way through the terminal it seemed as though my flight had gone more quickly than usual. Maybe I’ll pick up the magazine again next time.
(Written by Pastor Adam Keough)