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Learn more about my journey in church and marketing.
Have you ever wondered... What if Starbucks marketed like the church?
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BEYOND RELEVANCE MUSINGS ON CHURCH, STRATEGY, AND CULTURE

BY RICHARD REISING

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RT @DailyKeller: “It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you.” Tue Jun 16 03:14:27 +0000 2015
RT @DailyKeller: “Truth without love is harshness; it may be right but you ignore it because of it's bite. Truth and love together transfor… Thu Apr 09 13:12:00 +0000 2015
RT @DailyKeller: Love is never primarily defined in the Bible as a feeling. At its foundation love is at least a commitment and a promise. Fri Mar 27 19:12:01 +0000 2015
RT @CSLewisDaily: “#Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is modera… Tue Nov 11 03:47:45 +0000 2014
First 5k ever. First selfie without my daughter. :) #secondrunselfie http://t.co/TNe5SK6w9q Sat Nov 01 15:25:31 +0000 2014
RT @DailyKeller: “Anxiety is a daily statement to God saying, ‘I don’t think you have my best interest in mind’.” Thu Oct 09 14:01:58 +0000 2014
RT @timkellernyc: The heart of the gospel is the cross, and the cross is all about giving up power. Wed Sep 17 00:58:27 +0000 2014
RT @CSLewisDaily: "I don’t believe that good work is ever done in a hurry." ~ The C. S. Lewis Bible Sat Sep 13 12:57:25 +0000 2014
RT @mattedmundson: Our captivity to teach should never take precedent over our capacity to learn. #traidcraftAGM14 Sat Sep 13 12:57:04 +0000 2014
RT @DailyKeller: “You don't fall into love. You commit to it. Love is saying I will be there no matter what.” Sat Sep 13 12:56:38 +0000 2014
Very excited to be asked to speak this coming Wednesday on "Marketing God's Way" at Gateway Church http://t.co/PVKc31cGWB Sat Sep 13 12:55:03 +0000 2014
RT @CSLewisDaily: I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everyth… Fri Sep 12 00:41:41 +0000 2014
RT @DailyKeller: “If you don’t preach like there are lost people present, there won’t ever be any.” Mon Aug 18 05:06:29 +0000 2014
RT @timkellernyc: Jonah stands as a warning that human hearts never change quickly or easily even when someone is being mentored directly b… Sat Aug 16 02:19:46 +0000 2014
RT @DailyKeller: “Putting our faith in Christ is not about trying harder; it means transferring our trust away from ourselves and resting i… Sat Aug 16 02:17:19 +0000 2014
In life, there are people you can count on to DO THINGS & people you can count on to GET THINGS DONE—how exactly do you describe the rest? Thu Jul 03 03:07:02 +0000 2014
Excited to share some unique principles on Kingdom Influence next week. Visit if you can. Gateway Church: http://t.co/hlsoLtg05i Fri Mar 28 18:54:21 +0000 2014
Jun 17

Top 10 church communicator's mistakes: #8

Jun 17
Jun 17

Brand name overload

Its funny how churches who start to get the power of naming easily get carried away with it. What I am challenging here is not so much that you named your church "The Journey" and that your style is somewhat laid back and cool. That's potentially ok. Its what happens when every department in the church wants to do the same thing and asks the church to plaster their logo and brand name everywhere and no one is willing to tell them "no".

So we walk in your church and you have gone above and beyond and given me great signage that tells me where everything is. Good right? This is how it reads...

Go ahead... Read it fully like a visitor...
Exhibit A
Exhibit A

The church-savvy ones of you have deciphered the secret code language into the following...

Exhibit B


Which of these signs helps a visitor the most?

This is all about context. When you are in the main church context, what matters to the guest is the category of things you offer, not the kitschy brand name that has no meaning to us.

When are you in the main church's context? On it's website, on its stage, inside the foyer, on it's signage and it's printed materials to start. Someone from the church has to stand up and stop the confusion--or at least categorize it. We're all fine with: "Our Youth Ministry: The Tribe". You just can't use it in the main church context without telling us what it is. Calling it "The Tribe" without categorizing it makes newbies feel like outsiders--like someone did not include them in your secret name game.

If you are a youth group, we're fine with you calling it "The Tribe". Just know that it is your job to build the Tribe brand through your students and through your own website. It gives the kids ownership. It helps them tell their friends. That's all good. Please just don't ask the church to promote "The Tribe". They should simply promote the youth ministry or youth group. Visitors just need to know you have something for their teens. The fact that you call it "The Tribe", does not add to the sell for me as a parent.

Same thing goes for the coffee shop and the book store. Have a name if you want, but please don't let your brand name get in the way. Just guide us to the coffee shop. Do you really think your bookstore's name will increase my desire to check it out? "Ooo. Wow. Their bookstore is called 'Living Stones'--I can't wait to check it out!" "Look honey, their coffee shop is called "Holy Grounds", we have to experience that!" If you are unaware, I am being a bit sarcastic.

This is what it can unknowingly come across like to a visitor...

Welcome to Journey... on your bulletin you will find a list of 32 code names to guess what ministry they belong to. We are so introverted and proud of our cool names we can hardly stand it. We doubt you will. : )


Here's the deal. A church is not graded by how many clever brand names can be traced back to it. I think there needs to be a communications police that gives a citation to churches with signs like Exhibit A. Know anyone who needs to get a citizen's arrest?

7 comments

May 14

Top 10 church communicator's mistakes: #9

May 14
May 14

Thinking its about us

If we are firmly following Christ, it is not about us anymore. It is not about what we like. It is not about our style and our preferences. As church leaders it is not about having our pretty face on a billboard or a website. It is not about us. The colors we like do not matter. It is not about us. It is about the object of our affection; and the way we do church reveals the object of our affection. God? Certainly. Others? Definitely. Us? Not so much.

I'm not the only one who has this crazy thought. Jesus asked a question that struck a cord... "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?" Most of us see that as a lovely plea to reach a lost sheep. But what about the 99 other sheep? Who were they? They were us. Jesus clearly advocated leaving the sheep (us church folk)--howbeit in a safe place--but His focus was not on them. His focus was on finding the lost one.

When we make decisions about sermons, design, style, decor, etc... who are we making them for? For ourselves as church leaders (based on our personal likes and dislikes)? For the flock (the loyal followers)? or for the lost ones. Which one do you think Jesus would be focused on? No doubt He always protects the flock--but He also always pursues the lost. Lord, help us as wise shepherds to tend to the flock, without losing focus on the object of your pursuit and affection. Help us to see through the eyes of lost sheep.

12 comments

May 04

Top 10 church communicator's mistakes: #10

May 04
May 04

Brand-building without success
Church start-ups aside, one of the biggest challenges I run into on the road is a church that undergoes a re-branding in order to create momentum that does not already exist. The downfall of this effort is that to most churches, rebranding is a packaging concept. It never affects the core. If you repackage something that was not growing in a healthy way, the recipients of your message might be attracted at first, but the draw will not last. As well, your community can see through an attempt to modernize that is inconsistent with true change. If you want to re-brand, build real momentum first. Re-brand from the core out. The only way you can do that is learning how to organically connect with people and grow without an ounce of packaging. If you are not seeing success in organic growth, it means you have not mastered connecting with new people--an indication that your radar is off and you would not likely re-brand properly anyway.

Biblical thought: "...For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones." Matthew 23:27.  Jesus shared this charge with religious leaders. As churches, we exist to give off His life. The number one way to increase your real attractiveness is to connect people to Christ in a life-changing way. When this becomes your core, your brand becomes a relevant bond between who you are and those you are called to reach.

For more on this topic, check out this post...

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10/04/2016
Gateway Conference
    -Southlake, TX

4/12/2016
UMC Pastoral Network
    -Dallas, TX

11/10/2015
International Conference
    -Fort Worth, TX

11/06/2015
UT Arlington - College of Business
    -Arlington, TX

10/26/2015
Wesley Foundation
    -Raleigh, NC

10/15/2015
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