How do you feel when I use this combination of words: Church Marketing.
I almost lost my dinner the first time I tried to stomach it, but then I was swayed to the other side.
In planting Lakepoint Church, a mentor asked me, “How many people are in Muskego, the city you are trying to reach?”
“26,000.” I had done my homework.
“How many have joined your ‘Launch Team,’ to start the church?”
“If those 60 were to do a really great job telling their friends about Jesus, and the church, and everything else, how many do you think they’d each reach? Maybe 10?”
“That would be awesome!” I thought. But I should have seen myself getting backed into a corner.
“That’s 660 people. What are you going to do to let the other 25,340 people know that there’s a church for them where they can find God?”
I didn’t have an answer.
That conversation forever changed my perspective on church marketing. Personal relationships will always be the best. Personal invitations closely follow. But if you believe that every person in radius of a church deserves the opportunity to hear that there is a God who loves them, then you have to have an answer that allows every person in that city to know that you’re there. Church marketing gives you a shot.
I’ve formed another love for church marketing – it helps God get the credit he’s due. Every time I watch or read the news, I get depressed. Every time I open my mailbox, someone is trying to sell me something I don’t need. If something positive was going on, something that everyone needed, I’d love for that to be known. God deserves the credit for having that.
Here’s the pitfalls of church marketing. If you’re not careful, the content and language only ends up marketing to people who are already Christians. Shouldn’t we care most about reaching people who haven’t found Jesus? Secondly, it could become a substitute for person interaction. Followers of Jesus need to be equipped to reach their friends, rather than rely on the next marketing piece.
Here’s the opportunities of church marketing. People get a positive reputation for Jesus, from the positive things his people do. Jesus gets suggested as the answer, for people who’ve been wondering where to turn. When God has been stirring people’s hearts, and marketing can give them the next steps.
Here’s the key questions I’ve been asking to help evaluate how Lakepoint Church is marketed:
- What stuff does a church do that’s so conversation worthy, that it’s not just us talking about it?
- How do you best make church visible? More visible than a Sunday morning service?
- What pairings should go with church? Is it a place for healing, or for activism? Membership, or new connections? Family, or individuality?
- How do you stay true to the centrality of Jesus, while also speaking intelligibly to people who don’t know that they need him yet?