I tend to cringe when I hear the phrase “church marketing,” because I usually associate the word “marketing” with trying to convince someone that a product is better than it really is. However, when you really think about it, every church markets itself in some way, whether intentionally or unintentionally. How do we put our best face forward? Our church has recently done an overhaul of our communications, including printed materials and our website. It looks great, but we continue to remind ourselves that it’s not about looking good, it’s about accurately and effectively communicating what we’re about as a church in order to reach people with the Good News of Jesus. This post at Beyond Relevance has some good points, and I especially resonate with this excerpt:
Promotion without connectivity is destructive. I often share with church leaders that most of the churches in the United States should not promote themselves. Why? Simple. If your current membership is not actively inviting people or visitors are not staying, there are reasons why. If you do an advertising campaign, you are asking people to come in your doors only to realize why no one wants to invite anyone to your church. They never come back and leave to tell all their friends what they did not like about your church. This is not good marketing.
If you are connecting with people well, your membership will validate this by bringing their friends. If you are not, they won’t. The problem with your church-goers not inviting people is not their problem—as church leaders, it is our problem. It is not time to craft a message to get people to invite their friends. That is the equivalent of preaching a message on not falling asleep in church. It is our responsibility to want to make them want to bring their friends just as it is to keep people awake.