Its been pretty amazing over the years to watch the church in America move into its new, creative, edgy approach to communication. Church marketing has indeed come a long way. It’s moved into a new era of impact, creating new paths and growing every step of the way. Sometimes it starts to look the same and kind of blur together, but doesn’t every niche? It’s all good though - the pattern will change again and the next out-of-the-box idea will be mimicked on every site on the web…kinda like the “swirly-ornament” treatment that has taken on a life of its own and invaded every website and brochure in the nation.
Although it’s certainly impressive from a terrestrial point of view - church marketing that is - what’s really amazing is to see the results that modern communication has had on the Church. Bursting out of its old, stodgy, televangelist-style approach, the modern Church has broken new ground and changed the perception of countless millions across the country. Even big names in churchdom have contributed to this new perception as they have made the pursuit of excellence standard operating procedure in the way they bring their messages to their audience. Don’t get me wrong - of the over 270,000 registered houses of worship in the U.S., only a very small margin, I think, would fit in the category of “We have our marketing and communications act together.” There is indeed a long way to go across the board. In fact, there are even entire websites dedicated to the fact that church marketing is less than ideal. Some great stuff on these sites.
What we often see is a real desire on the part of pastors and church leaders to clearly define and communicate all that the church has to offer, but they are limited in the time, talent or resources to embark on the journey. We have heard many times over, “we don’t know where to begin,” or “we can’t afford it” or my all-time favorite, “the board doesn’t think it’s necessary to market the church.” Really? Yeah - that makes sense…don’t tell anyone in the community that you are there for them and that the message offered can change their life for eternity. *author scratches head in bewilderment*
Truly, marketing, promotion, advertising, etc. can feel like an overwhelming endeavor - if you have never done it. We’ve all heard the analogy about eating an elephant…it’s kind of like that for sure, but really you just need a good team to help you take the bites and break out of the box. Breaking out of the box is always a process - but the box really is a small jail cell. Sometimes I think leaders feel like they need to get a spoon to dig out of Alcatraz…while the “guards” aren’t looking.
Grab a spoon. They dig well.