There are two predominant views about church marketing within churches today.
Church Marketing – The Consumerism Way
First, we have some churches that have infused modern business principles into the way they operate. They view church marketing as an essential part of reaching the people in their community. They investigate the needs and desires of the people in their community. Then they communicate through all kinds of media – TV, radio, Internet, direct mail – how God and their church can meet their needs and desires.
While it’s possible to take this approach to church marketing in a God-honoring way, and help people connect with God and the church, there is a danger. The central theme of Christianity is that because Christ died for us, we are going to lay down our lives and follow Him. We have to be careful about telling people, “Come to our church. All your desires will be met.” And then, “Great! Now that you’re here, it’s not about you. Give up what you desire and follow Jesus.”
The Anti-Church Marketing Way
Some churches see what the first group of churches are doing and think it’s too superficial. It’s style over substance. They want nothing to do with church marketing. They’re not going to try to sell or promote their church one bit. If someone is really seeking God and God wants them at their church, by golly, God will find a way to get them there.
While there is some truth to this – God does seek us out and draw us to Him – God also calls his followers to GO and make disciples, and not just wait for them to show up on our doorsteps.
The Third Way: Authentic, Engaging Church Marketing
There is an alternative to these ways of doing (or not doing) church marketing – a third way. Instead of promoting what’s in it for them, we can tell of what God is doing in us. Instead of pulling back from the world, we can live out our faith in the midst of and engaging with those who don’t yet know Christ in our communities. As my bro, Kurt Steinbrueck says…
Church marketing isn’t about marketing. It’s about using every tool available to bring people to Christ. -Kurt Steinbrueck
How can we do this?
Technology gives us the opportunity to tell our stories and live out our faith in genuine, engaging ways including:
- Authentic church websites that show people who we really are and what we’re really about. No hype. No stock images.
- Church SEO that enables people to find our churches when they are searching.
- Blogs and social media used to share the stories of what God is doing in our churches.
Let me wrap this up by saying this… how we approach church marketing and outreach is not an easy topic. It’s something we all need to wrestle with, individually, together and with our church leadership teams. The way God leads one church to do its marketing and outreach is going to be different from others. We want to wrestle with this topic with you this month, so we’re declaring November to be Church Marketing Month.
Please share your thoughts and approaches to church marketing in the Church Marketing Survey
We’ll share the results with you, and we’ll tackle your church marketing questions in our blog posts this month.
Comment and Discuss
- Did you complete the Church Marketing Survey?
- Do you have a comment or question about church marketing you want to discuss?