I’ve been saying this for years now, but I get tired of church marketing. The advertisements, the clever slogans, the social media strategies. Many churches try to achieve success by using the right tactics, by “appealing” to the right audience. But in some cases marketing is a barrier to the advancement of the Gospel message. It can actually be a hindrance for the church.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still a proponent of church marketing because I think more people hearing the Gospel is better. More people taking steps in their spiritual journey is better. More people experiencing life change is better. More people having healthy marriages is better. More people finding God’s purpose for their lives is better.
But if you think marketing is the key to ministry growth, you’ve missed the point completely.
I worry that we rely on our marketing to do the dirty work for us. Quite frankly, if your church has stopped growing, marketing is not your solution. If you have stopped seeing life change, marketing is not the answer.
The point here is that we’re trying to fix the problem by playing the marketing card. Social media won’t fix your problem. Direct mail won’t fix your problem. Neither will billboards or bulletin ads or coffee mugs. At some point marketing may be a good option, but until you answer the right questions, marketing could be what’s preventing your success.
Imagine you completely stopped marketing today for a month:
- Would people still invite their friends?
- Would the environment make people want to come back?
- Would the relationships keep people connected?
- Would we actually help remove some of the noise from people’s lives?
- Would we be more sensitive to God’s leading?
You see, every church markets itself. But I’d like to suggest that if we’re going to embrace marketing, then there are some ideas we can consider to make our marketing more effective.
Church marketing won’t work unless:
We focus less on what we say and more on how we act.
We realize that louder isn’t better.
We look at it as relationship-building and stop viewing it as information-sharing.
We talk less about how great we are (“organization-focused”) and instead deliver a message and ministry that leads to life change (“people-focused”).
We realize we can’t force what we think people need until they know they need it.
We reduce the number of competing messages we are trying to communicate.
We know who we are trying to reach and we’ve acknowledged we can’t reach everyone.
We deliver on what we promise.
What’s the heart behind your marketing? I hope you’ll take these things into honest consideration. The motive behind the marketing is the key to effectively and authentically making the message of the Gospel available to all.