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- What Every Church Needs to Know about Marketing: Final Thoughts: If you don't pass the people test, nothing else matters
- What Every Church Needs to Know about Marketing: Part 3: Marketing is about People
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I am so honored and thankful to have been able to sit down a few weeks ago and chat with Chris Yaw of ChurchNext.tv. Anytime I'm able to share my passion for church marketing and healthy church growth with others is a gift! Check out the video link below for a whole host of insightful questions and honest answers about church marketing, when and when not to promote your church, and the keys to really growing a healthy, thriving church body. Enjoy!
What Every Church Needs to Know about Marketing: Final Thoughts: If you don't pass the people test, nothing else matters
If you do not pass the people test, nothing else matters.
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.
It is a sure truth that any person who has had a life-changing experience with Christ wants everyone they know to experience Christ. The problem? Most people are not ashamed of Christ, they are ashamed of their church. Having said all this, I am convinced of one thing. If members walk out of your service saying, "I wish my unchurched friend had been here," they will start to think about inviting their friend. If a member walks out of your service three weeks in a row and says every time, "I wish my unchurched friend would have heard that," nothing will stop that member from dragging that friend through your doors.
The heart of marketing is people. Don’t start with mailers. Start with people. Ask yourself, “What am I doing this week to learn how to reach people more effectively? It's time to evaluate. Are we creating an atmosphere that fosters growth or are we ministering unto ourselves?
Our love for the lost is found in how much we value them—in the time we devote to them in our sermons, in the signage on our campuses, in the red carpet we roll out to them on our websites, in the way we communicate and maximize the one opportunity they generally give us. Great marketing is founded on a heart that desires to connect to people right where they live, and loves them too much to leave them there. Ask yourself, “How can we enhance our reach this month without advertising? How can we be more about connecting with people right where they live, in everything we do?” That is where smart marketing begins.
Marketing is about people. It is about learning what makes people tick and then shaping your communication to them in such a way that you create a bridge to their hearts. Paul understood this. He told us, “To the Jew, I will become as a Jew…” He went on to say that he would become all things to all men that he might win them. Paul was a master marketer. He studied people, reflecting back to them their values in such things as idol worship, poetry and philosophy—all with a single pursuit of winning them for Christ. Paul knew what made people tick. He used those things to lead them to Christ.
In the corporate world, they know this. MTV has declared that the winner of the next generation is “the one who speaks their language the best”. They spend 20% of their budget learning the teen language and connecting with it. They are successful too often. How much of your budget is committed to understanding people? Hanging with them? Learning their hopes and needs? Do you know what makes them tick?
Jesus hung with sinners. The disciples left their comfort zone for a world of non-believers—pursuing them to believe. In the average church today, as leaders, we hardly leave the comfort of our cohorts—those who share our heart for Christ. Yet we have a marketing (advertising) mandate don’t we? To go and preach (publish and promote) the Gospel. To whom? To those who are lost.
I am an advocate for the lost. I once was lost. I work hard to remember what that felt like in spite of my current knowledge that I need God and His presence every minute of every day. My wife has had five strokes in the last seven years. I cannot imagine going through things like that without Him—yet most people do. If I were lost would you reach me? Would you understand where I was and reach me where I lived? Would you make clear to me the profound simplicity of the Gospel and tell me what the next step in my walk towards Christ is?
I sat as a consultant in a service of a strong preacher, who had crafted a message so complex that I, myself, felt discouraged in my Christianity. He coupled it with a charge of those who did not like it: “If you do not like it, there’s the door.” Several visitors took him up on that. In our debrief, we asked him how he had come to know Christ. He began to weep—remembering back to his childhood, when he had been so confused by people talking to him about God, until one VBS where a gracious volunteer explained the simplicity of God’s love and He accepted Christ. He wept for how complex he had made it. The Gospel is profoundly simple. Our labor of love is to learn how to connect others with it. Our ultimate charge is to be simple enough to be understood and powerful enough to change lives.
check back for my final thoughts on this in a few days....