In the world of marketing, the church takes one of two stances. It stays away from it totally, or engages in what I would call cheesy church marketing. Bottom line; they’re not very effective.
But why don’t we market? We have the greatest news in the whole world; something everyone needs and everyone should know about. The good news is relevant to everyone’s life, every day. So why don’t we let people know more effectively what we have to offer? There are two reasons why we don’t market. One, we don’t know what promise to make. Two, we don’t know how to make good on the promises we do make.
At the end of the day, that’s what marketing is: making a promise to fulfill a need that someone feels down deep in their soul. Is it because we’re lazy and we don’t want to sit down and define on paper what the promises are we’re willing to make to our city, our community, and ultimately our world? Do we really know what we offer? Are we really the friendliest church in town? Do we really have the greatest youth ministry, the best music, all these adjectives that we use to describe what we do that are general and blur the lines?
Let’s face it. Churches are pretty much churches when it comes to the services they offer. So what unique promise are you extending to your community (market)? For example, at The Gathering here in Nashville, we make this promise: that we will create environments and experiences that will help nonreligious people connect to God and each other. That’s our promise. What’s the end gain or the purpose? That we can change the world.
How do we deliver on that promise? Well, we have to create environments and experiences first of all that are targeted toward nonreligious people and what they care about. If we don’t deliver on that promise then the promise is null and void. If we don’t make the promise, then we simply go out of business, or at least, stay stagnant.
So if you’ve ever wondered why churches don’t market, it’s not because we’re above it, or because it’s beneath us, it’s because we haven’t stopped long enough to ask what is the promise that we make that people really care about. And do we keep the promise once people have come?
Remember, it’s not that people come that really matters, it’s that they come back. And they’ll come back when we make and keep our promises.
What promise are you making that is worth telling the world about? And if they come, can you deliver?!