“Out of the box” can mean being creative in weird ways, but it can also mean doing things in a stock standard way.
It’s worth churches thinking through how they market themselves by looking at how other “similar” industries go about reaching their market.
How could a church leverage these aspects of their nature…
- Similar to a “debt alleviation” company?
- Similar to a “life insurance” company?
- Similar to a “self-help / recovery group”?
- Similar to an “Adult education” provider?
- Similar to an “Historical society”
It seems that a church could market itself like any of these… Because a church can be all of these.
But there lies the issue… If you only market one aspect of yourself, you run the risk of under-communicating, which is just another word for mis-communicating.
Churches seems to have such a quandary about saying no to advertising things out the front. Its hard when someone runs up to you and says they need, really really need to you advertise their thing today!!! When the reality is that, if you said yes to everyone, you’d have no time for bible, singing or sermon. There’s just so much that goes on that legitimate church stuff, let alone the other things. I’ve had one guy come up to me 5 mins before a meeting and insist they get up and invite people to join their soccer team!
So, rather than just avoiding those people so they can’t ask you, have a clear basis for why you advertise things… here’s ours (courtesy of our brilliant Magnification Pastor – that means he cares more about making meetings good environments for hearing and responding to God – Pete Witt).
Only things that tick all three boxes:
- They affect a huge number of people (at least over half)
- They are significantly urgent
- They are closely aligned to your visions and values as a church.
If it hits all three, go for it. It’s worth advertising.
The difference between being in ‘sales’ and being in ‘ministry’ is heartbreak.
See, if I’m trying to sell you something, it’s because I get a commission, or it’s my job – get paid to help you want something (usually want something enough to buy it). If you decide to say “no”, it’s disappointing, and it may even be frustrating. I might have wasted heaps of time on one customer and never make the sale. I may even feel insecure about my ability. But that’s all.
On the other hand, if I’m doing personal follow-up at church, or inviting someone to a series like LIFE, or simply just trying to help someone see the majesty of Christ they should be living for… If they decide to say “no”, I would still experience all those things above (disappointment, frustration, insecure, etc). But, I will also experience heartbreak.
Because Christian ministry is motivated by love, it also has the potential to hurt. A lot. In fact, the more I cultivate love for you (which drives me to say certain things and do certain things) the more I open myself up to be heartbroken when I see you turn away from Jesus, continue in sin, make stupid decisions that will affect your relationship with Jesus and others.
Ministry is an investment of Jesus-inspired-love in people. We invest more than our time, energy, mind… we invest our heart. And so you can’t invest your heart into people without expecting to be heartbroken. When that happens, refill your heart with Jesus’ love and go love some more.
Remember that people need constant reminding that your church is just up the road. They don’t know you’re there. They don’t know that you want them to come. They don’t even know what the church is called.
They don’t think you have ANYTHING to offer them, least of all the gospel.
You have to work out what you’re happy with. And you can’t treat every scenario the same.
If you never do anything, waiting for the perfect idea to come along, you’ll never do anything. Sometimes it’s just better to run what you’ve got as best as you can. Execute the av. idea with all your might.
Other times, you might be better of working on your idea, changing the system, and let it go – even if it’s not all perfectly ready. The av. execution of a great idea might be much better than keeping doing things the old way.
For example, a video ad for one event might just get away with being av. However, go another type of event an av. video ad might turn people away.
Choose which scenario your happy with first, and then go ahead.
I didn’t like this when I heard it, but upon reflection, it’s as true in church world as it is in any other human environment.
The common agreement is seven. Yep. Seven times. Are you planning a new church plant? Running an evangelistic event? Starting a new initiate? You’ll need to communicate it about seven times before people will admit they’ve heard it once.
Yep. Once. In fact that’s not everyone. Some people will say they’ve heard it a few more times. And – get this – some people will still claim to your face that they haven’t heard anything about it. Or worse, they’ll claim that YOU haven’t told them.