Ministry as Marketing

August 15, 2005 by

One complaint we often hear about marketing is that churches should just do something instead. Actions speak louder than words. If we get out in the community and do what we’re supposed to be doing, people will take notice. And that’s absolutely right. World Magazine covers a Florida church that’s doing just that.

First Baptist Church of Leesburg, Fla. has put its focus on ministries, to the point that instead of building a larger sanctuary, they built a ministry village.

Ministry is an awesome way to reach your community. But when people say let’s do ministry, not marketing—they’re fooling themselves. Just because it doesn’t involve a flier doesn’t mean it’s not marketing. Marketing is the bigger picture—it’s everything you communicate. It’s mailers and men’s groups. Stop making marketing a dirty word.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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5 Responses to “Ministry as Marketing”

  • Betsy
    August 15, 2005

    That is incredible. If more churches made more of an impact in their community, and were not so focused on internal activities, the Church would have a better reputation in the world today.

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  • Michael
    August 15, 2005

    Can I hear an amen?!
    For those of us who live in the world of church, we call it outreach and ministry.
    For those in the business and marketing world it’s called word of mouth and is one of the hot topics in marketing today. is a brand new organization devoted entirely to word of mouth and wears all the big companies names as participants.
    Funny thing is it can be hard for a company selling toilets to figure out word of mouth…for us it should be easy. Christ is the king of word of mouth, everyone was talking about his ministry, he didn’t need TV or radio or the web because people would go to great lengths because they heard about his great works!
    I know it is so easy to focus inside of our walls…but we are called to love our neighbors and I’m sad to say, I don’t even know all of my neighbors names.

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  • Alex
    August 15, 2005

    This thread raises interesting points. My humble thought? We need to market and minister. Luke 14:23 in The Message says that the master said, “Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full!” This is where marketing comes into play. And this can take any number of forms, from DM, to radio, to viral tactics, to personal invites, to outright outreach and ministry events. The key thing we forget is that everything we do markets and speaks about our particular organization. More importantly everything we do must reflect Christ. So for us as the church it is clear that everything should be carried out with the utmost of excellence and care. And whatever you do don’t call it ministry or outreach to your outside audiences. The old adage of “If just one person comes to Jesus, then it was worth it.” just doesn’t fly anymore, especially in such a media saturated culture.

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  • Phillip Ross
    September 5, 2005

    The word ministry means service, whereas marketing as it is being used here means the entire enterprise of buying and selling commodities and securities. Marketing is always tied to buying and selling.
    So, exactly what is it that churches are selling? And does that mean that ministry is about buying and selling? Or does it mean that marketing should be done as a service? And if it is, exactly who is to be served? God? Church members? Or visitors? Or all? What do we do when they have conflicting interests?
    What is Jesus Christ selling that Christians are franchising? Or is it that nondenominational churches don’t franchise anymore? Is Bill Hybels franchising?
    How does Jesus attract people to the gospel? (Other than performing miracles. I’m excluding miracles because they are difficult to measure.) But seriously, the way that Jesus and the apostles attracted people to the gospel, the ways that they shared their faith should be the Christian marketing and outreach model.
    What was Paul selling?

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  • Phillip Ross
    September 6, 2005

    Another thought about marketing as ministry.
    The theme of reaping and sowing runs throughout Scripture, and I’m thinking that Christian marketing is really all about reaping and sowing. Marketing plants seeds that will be reaped later.
    Note that Scripture uses the language of reaping and sowing — or farming rather than the language of the marketplace (marketing).
    Rather than thinking of marketing as ministry, it might be more biblical to think of ministry as farming, rather than selling.

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Evangelism & Outreach