Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Church Marketing and more


One of my goals this week was to get or info in the local newspaper.  Up to this point, we have done virtually ZeRo advertising for Bayou Community Church.  That's about to change.  I'm going to look into billboard advertising next week as well.  I read something Mark Batterson wrote some time ago and I'm paraphrasing here, "The church has the greatest story ever told and the greatest story deserves the greatest marketing".  

My hesitation up to this point has been the idea of pulling people away from their current churches to "try" ours.  I'm not at all interested in this type of church growth.  I am believing God to open doors to share the gospel with non church attenders.  Those are the people I want at BCC...not the church shopper. 

I think we can effectively market our church to that demographic or try real hard to do so anyway.  

I talked with the owner of the newspaper today and something cool happened.  He asked if I would be interested in writing an editorial each week for the paper.  He said, "We live in a world that needs encouragement so desperately and I'm looking for pastors to write weekly articles to help encourage our community".  

I accepted the invitation without hesitation.  Just a few hours prior, I was on the phone with my brother, and was telling him how much I'd like to write an article for the paper each week. The problem was, I didn't think I could afford the cost right now.  As God would have it, the paper is offering this as a free service to the community.  To write weekly articles isn't going to cost us anything!  I was sToK3d! 

Questions: 

1.  How do you view church marketing?  Should churches market themselves?

2.  Is marketing the church further playing into an already consumer saturated "church" experience?






4 comments:

Michael Buckingham said...

You are right no. The goal of church marketing should not be move people from one church to the other.

What a great opportunity to write for the paper! That is a GOD thing!

Marketing is about communicating. Should churches market themselves? They already are. The only question is the effectiveness of it.

I am a big believe in church marketing, I believe in compelling people to come into the church, I believe in connecting people to the truth through effective communication.

“compel them to come in that my house may be full” luke 14:23

I don't try to change the gospel, that defeats the purpose.

I change the way HOW the gospel is presented.

It used to be presented in scrolls, now to be effective it is presented on screens, with posters, websites...all that good stuff.

“…the Father who sent me commanded me WHAT to say AND HOW to say it.” John 12:49

God is going before you, clearing the way. Enjoy the ride!

Shannon said...

Michael,

Thanks for commenting! You said, "Marketing is about communicating". I love that! I agree with you on everything you commented. Means of communication change as humanity progresses, I think the way churches change with that makes all the difference in how we effectively or not, communicate the gospel. Some of the older ways are just not effective anymore and should be canned and replaced.

Thanks for stopping in!

The Creature said...

Hey Shannon - Marketing the church? Good question! With a background in commercial media and marketing it's something I have thought quite a bit about and still do think about a lot. Of course I think my context in Oz may be a little different from yours so keep that in mind when you read the following ...

To my way of thinking marketing in the more "traditional" sense, when it comes to church, tends to look at the attractional side of things - at getting people into church in order to link them with Jesus, or in order to grow the numbers attending. It has certainly worked well here in Oz (and elsewhere in the world I'm sure) in the later sense but it just doesn't seem to be working in the former.

One thing I know about marketing and advertising is that the best kind of marketing available is word of mouth - and, it's free. And I think this probably relates directly, perhaps more than ever to the church. IMHO the most effective marketing we are can implement is our lives. A life openly and genuinely lived for Christ (and therefore lived for others) is going to do more to advance the gospel than any number of billboards or broadcast media ad campaigns.

In fact, I have gone so far as to actively fight against our fellowship putting up signage around our town as I think it quite possible could create a false sense of security and detract from the importance of the life-as-ministry-on-show approach.

My 10 or 15 cents worth! :)

Shannon said...

Andrew,

Thanks for chiming in. :)

I agree that the truest and best advertisement is word of mouth. The sad reality, however, is that far too many Christians are silent. They aren't running any ad campaigns for Jesus! I don't understand this either. We recommend a good movie, restaurant, vacation spot and the list goes on, but we rarely recommend Jesus to anyone. This is one thing I'm attempting to lead my people in at BCC. We have to become vocal about our faith where ever we are and with whomever we find ourselves.

I do want to be careful of the advertising that we do though. I do not want to create transfer growth in my church...I think for the most part that is unhealthy and unbiblical growth.

Bringing unsaved people into a new and vibrant relationship with the Savior has to be the goal as I see it.