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Feb 17

What Every Church Needs to Know about Marketing: Final Thoughts: If you don't pass the people test, nothing else matters

Feb 17
Feb 17

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.



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Jessie Jennings

Great article! It's easy to quickly go to marketing as the "buzz word" for why the ministry isn't growing but it takes prayerful reflection to see the true issues behind the stiffling. You truly hit the nail on the head!


Posted on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 @ 7:14 PM CST

Nathaniel Dame

Thanks Brian good stuff. It's so easy for churches or ministries to get caught up in the rush of marketing/growth and forget this foundational truth. Thanks for the reminder!

Would you mind sharing this post on a youth ministry library for youth pastors? http://www.calledtoyouthministry.com/resources

Let me know--and God bless!!

Posted on Sun, Feb 28, 2010 @ 4:26 PM CST

Nathaniel Dame

Wow great to hear about Michele, praise God!

I just wanted to try to connect again and see if you might be interested in sharing this post, or others, in a youth ministry library for youth pastors? www.calledtoyouthministry.com/resources

Would be a huge blessing for us, plus a good way to get the word out about your own site.

I believe I saw you speak at Teen Mania a while back. We're still using the Perpetua sites too--good stuff, much more flexible than any system we've used in the past.

Let me know, thanks!!

Posted on Wed, Mar 10, 2010 @ 12:09 PM CST

Joseph Peer

This sort of misses the point of "church"- What if we TOTALLY and I mean TOTALLY rethought "church"- When i look at Jesus, and look at the earlier believers (Acts 2:42), and the Apostle Paul- I simply do not find them inviting people to come to a building they had created. In fact, they were the ones who would "go" (read Matthew 28:18-20) into the homes of unbelievers (the breaking of bread in Acts 2:42 was not the Lord's supper as most suppose- they stayed engaged in reaching their "oikos" or basically their business co-workers and family). Instead, what if we saw our "church" time as a time to come together to be "equipped" (Ephesians 4:11-12) to be able to "go" and reach the unbelievers around us? Why should I have to bring them to a new environment and culture- expect them to adapt to my culture? Why is it not my job to share the truth of the gospel with them where they are comfortable? That's what "church" is supposed to be from what I read- where I am equipped to "do the work of ministry." Not where I bring my friends so that a pastor can preach the same gospel message week in week out. The pastor shouldn't preach to the lowest common denominator of faith. Just my thoughts- marketing is still an issue; the problem is our "churches" today are in the wrong business.

Posted on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 @ 8:32 PM CST


"Our love for the lost is found in how much we value them—in the time we devote to them;" Is the goal to get people to come to a building or is Jesus goal to draw sinners by the Holy Spirit into the Kingdom of God? Is the goal to fill church pews or make disciples filled with the Holy Spirit? What has happened to allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what He is doing and join Him in His work? Does the Holy Spirit need a great marketing strategy. Man's flesh does but not God. He is seeking people who have heard the call to set themselves apart from this world and be completely dependent upon His Spirit. He is seeking people who know the simplicity of the Gospel, who know the simplicity of how to be led by the Spirit and not the flesh. He is seeking people who understand the goal is not to get people to church on Sunday but go be involved in a persons life and demonstrate God's love and minister to people if they never grace the doors of a building. If we really love people we will lay down our life and "go".

Posted on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 @ 8:59 AM CST

Richard Reising

The bottom line is: people will visit your church. If you have a physical address and a building, they will walk through your doors looking for hope and answers. In an ideal world, the church body would be so positively infectious that all evangelism would take place outside the church walls. However, that wasn't the case in Biblical times, nor is it the case today. It's our responsibility to steward the opportunities God gives us through the front door. I agree that the church has a need to be the church outside it's walls, but I also believe it has a responsibility to connect with those that step inside.
Thanks for your comments and passion for Christ!

Posted on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 @ 11:28 AM CST

Ryan Scott

Great post. It's true "church marketing" is important but we should never lose the sight of who we are marketing to. It's people. Not groups of people, but people. These people have names, problems, emotions, and families.

Church marketing isn't like conventional marketing focused on numbers and reports. Church marketing is spreading the message of how the church can meet the needs of those people.

People are the reason for church marketing, not the other way around.

Posted on Wed, May 9, 2012 @ 1:07 PM CST

Richard Reising

Rock on. It's 100% about people. The motive behind everything we do needs to be to serve people for the cause of Christ. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the post!

Posted on Wed, May 9, 2012 @ 3:23 PM CST

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