It’s hypocritical for Christian say they are against churches using marketing. Why? because almost all churches do some marketing. Mailers, fliers, a sign out front, a bulletin advertising upcoming events, even listings in the yellow pages or listing service times in the newspaper…churches market they just don’t call it that. At the very least, word-of-mouth marketing happens as members invite their friends and family to services.
Wherever your feelings on the matter, the bottom line is more people Connect to God if you get them through the doors of the church. Don’t misunderstand. It’s not about promoting my church for me, it’s about discipling souls which is next to impossible outside the context of the local church. Remember we’re called to make disciples, not gather a crowd. Here’s the common mistakes church make when marketing.
Marketing the church itself instead of the Connection with God the church can bring. It’s ok to promote a sermon series or an event but as a lead into attending service. The reason to attend service is to Connect to God. No one cares if you think your church is the coolest. They care if your church can help them have a better life or find eternal life.
Not having a good “product” when they come. If you tell people come to our church and you’ll find help for your failing marriage, then the church better offer help for marriages. Guests must also find a welcoming, friendly environment.
Not following up effectively. Good marketers know that finding “qualified leads” is a must. When you find someone who says they are interested in your product, you better follow through. When the Holy Spirit draws a soul to search for the Savior and they walk through the doors of the church, that person is a gift from God. How we connect with them during the Monday-Wednesday following their visit is essential to reinforce their experience. I’m amazed at how many churches aren’t effective in gathering information from their visitors for follow up.
Not Focusing on the people God has called you to. God uses different churches to reach different types of people. Joel Osteen can’t reach the same people as T.D. Jakes. Benny Hinn can’t reach Ed young’s crowd. Who has God called your church to? Please don’t misunderstand, we accept all people but we should market to those most drawn to our style. it sounds good to say, “We are trying to reach all people.” but it is impractical unless you have unlimited resources.
Competing with other churches. We are competing with false religions, cults, the occult, atheism and humanism but not other churches. We are all part of the same family. Never run down or belittle another church, you only hurt the Kingdom of God. My daughter once asked my why there were so many different kinds of Christian churches. My response was “It’s like ice cream. There are different flavors ranging from vanilla to tutti-fruity but it’s all still ice cream.” If someone has a different style than yours it’s not wrong, just different.
Offering too many choices. More choices means more confusion. Confusion always cause inactivity. The more choices you provide, the less likely people will be to take a step. A great example is trying to do a mid-week service and small groups. People will choose one or the other and both are weakened. Offer a mid-week service, weekly small groups and Sunday school and only the highly committed 20% will come and the unchurched will pass on your church.
Not evaluating effectiveness. What is the message you are trying to communicate? Are you getting a response? Do people find a goo product when they come to the service? Do you know who you’re trying to reach? Are you willing to say know to marketing and programs that are ineffective?