If you think your church doesn’t ‘do’ marketing, think twice.
- Does your congregation put announcements for upcoming events in the bulletin? That’s marketing.
- Does your congregation have a sign by the road? That’s marketing too.
- Is there sometimes a catchy slogan on the marque? Isn’t that marketing?
- Does your church have a website? Marketing.
- Did someone put your congregation’s name and service times in the newspaper? Marketing.
- Do members sometimes invite visitors to church? Word-of-mouth is marketing, too.
Marketing is not just a synonym for advertising. Marketing is also anything that influences the impression people have of your congregation. The experience of first-time visitors, intentional or not, is a form of marketing. The accessibility of the church building and the cleanliness of the facilities is also a form of marketing. Even the lessons the preacher presents and the kind of leadership the elders exemplify are all variations of marketing.
I know the word “marketing” might make you think of corporate America. If you are reserved about using this word, you’re showing wisdom. I know many churches – especially large denominational churches – that have fallen into the trap of ‘attractional ministry’ at the expense of teaching the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). But even the 1st century church believed in marketing. How else would it have experienced phenomenal growth if people hadn’t heard about it and been impressed by the power of the Gospel?
The fact of the matter is: Simple New Testament Christianity is the best thing in the world! Restoring the Church in the Bible is the most noble of ideals! Do you really believe this? Why keep it a secret? We need to impress this belief on the world around us! If we’re going to market, we might as well do it intentionally.
Let’s never lose sight of what we’re all about – restoring N.T. Christianity. It is hard to market an ideal that we ourselves are unsure about.
Let’s take pride in our facilities. I know well-off Christians who live in nice houses and own attractive businesses, but worship in shabby-looking church buildings (and it’s not because they are giving everything to mission work). We need to make the church building as appealing as we can for non-Christians. Like it or not, the presentation of our church buildings is a form of outreach.
Let’s get the word out. Make sure your church sign is noticeable and well kept. Make your flyers, banners, and other advertisements appealing. Make it easy for members to invite their friends and co-workers to church events and services.
Let’s dedicate ourselves to excellence. Be as professional as possible in everything that you do. Paul said, “all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40). He also instructed us to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). If your bulletin board, worship service, events, and literature look like they have just been ‘thrown together,’ they aren’t good enough. And typos, bad grammar, and clip-art from Word 95 should be avoided.
Let’s stand out. We’re different from everyone else. We simply want to be the Lord’s Church. So let’s show that to the world. Your congregation should be the epitome of Acts 2:42-47. Let’s be friendlier, more loving, more passionate, and more Biblical than any other church! Be on fire for the Lord!
Last week I wrote an article entitled “Do You Have ‘Outsider’ Eyes?” challenging us to look at our respective congregations from the eyes of a visitor. Did you do that? What did you see? Surely there are some things your church can do better.
If a visitor doesn’t come back, make sure it’s because they didn’t want to follow Jesus, not because of something you did (or didn’t do). Let’s make the Gospel appealing to everyone, so that by all means we might save some (1 Cor. 9:22).
Do you have some practical suggestions for making a better impression of the Lord’s Church?