I suppose I used to think that the idea of church marketing was a bad idea. A concept from the business world, applied to a non-profit organization, whose mission is not competitive. However, I think the idea of sharing the gospel is marketing. In fact, all churches and all chrisitians are marketers. If we understand a little about sales and marketing, we realize that we use many of the same techniques and ploys in sharing the gospel that marketing and sales professionals do in their work.
We all should be marketing Christ. But along the way, we want to market our church. We want people who accept our message of hope in Christ, to also join our community. We want to recruit them to help us share that same message of hope with others.
Here is my take on principles for Church Marketing:
1) Church marketing should derive from mission
We should clearly articulate the mission that God has assigned to “The Church”, and explain how the local church community is involved in executing that mission.
2) Church marketing should focus on gospel and community
We should clearly articulate the “Good News” of Jesus in a way that is relevant in the local community. Tell people outside the local church, how the good news is good for them, and good for the community. The Good News of Jesus is the hope of the world. The mission of “The Church” is to help people grab on to that hope for themselves and their family and their community.
3) Church marketing should be ecumenical
We should not communicate or even imply that our church is “better” than or “different” than other churches, but should articulate how our church works with and partners with other churches in the local community and in the world to increase and amplify the impact of the gospel in both contexts. Oh, wait – you aren’t doing that? Why not?
4) Church marketing promotes the brand of Jesus Christ, not any other brand
We should remember, “Its not about us”. We are not setting up a competing brand with Jesus’ own brand. A house divided against itself will fall. When we differentiate our church from “The Church”, or other churches through the establishment of a competing brand, we inadvertently end up differentiating ourselves from “Jesus, the brand”, which is ultimately what we are supposed to be marketing anyway.
5) Church marketing recognizes who we are competing against
We are not competing (I hope) against other local churches for members, dividing God’s community into tiny little pieces. We are competing against the world system, and the message that God is irrelevant. We are competing against Satan and the lies that he uses to keep people separated from God. We are competing against the vain philosophies and false religions that ultimately lead to spiritual death. Jesus is “The Way”, “The Truth”, and “The Light” –
We are marketing the best, most beneficial thing in the world, but the enemy is a much better marketer.