Church Marketing Down Under

March 5, 2008 by

Our international repertoire has been growing leaps and bound. We learned about church marketing in England and then we moved on to Belgium. (Anyone from South America, Africa or Asia? Antarctica maybe? Drop us a line.) Then we decided to head to the other hemisphere and hear from Steve Fogg, the communication manager for Crossway in Melbourne, Australia. Here’s what he had to say about church marketing in the land of kangaroos, boomerangs and blooming onions.

Steve, tell us a little bit about your church and your position there.

Steve: Based in Melbourne, Australia, Crossway is the largest Baptist Church in Australia. It is a church that has over 3,800 people attending its four campuses (plus English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Indonesian language congregations) around Melbourne, with a fifth due to be launched this year. The vision is for Crossway to grow as a movement of churches throughout Australia and beyond with over 8,000 people by 2010.

I’m the Communications Manager for Crossway. 20 years in the wider creative industry as a Creative Director before taking on this role in a part time position last year, which has gone to full time last Christmas (I’ve gone from mo’ money to no money ;-). Job description wise, I’m pretty much responsible for everything people see, hear and touch at Crossway. This includes anything from brand management stuff for regular print collateral, video, web, PR, through to brand positioning, brand voice stuff which is just getting going.

Got my first runs on the board, PR wise here and here.

You told me that churches around there tend to be more Sunday-centric. How does your mindset differ?

Steve: I can only speak for myself here. One thing I’ve heard around the block is that ‘nothing gets in the way of Sunday’ from a ministry perspective. I sometimes don’t go to church because my unchurched friends invite me to play golf on a Sunday.

Where would Jesus rather me be? I think he would want me to be ministering to my friends where they are, rather than only where I am. (Before I get the hate mail: I’m not advocating not going to church on a Sunday.)

I’m praying there will be a time when they are ready for the invitation!

How are the churches there different from what you know of American churches?

Steve: So many churches around the world model themselves on American churches (many in Australia included). And yet, our culture down here and I would say the same for the English culture is far less overtly Christian than many parts of the U.S. In fact, the majority of the culture down here is very much anti-institutional Christianity. They like Jesus, just not some Christians and the church. People seem to have been burnt too many times.

You say they like Jesus, but not Christians and the church–how do you go about marketing church to people like this?


  • Rule #1 — Tell them as many stories about Jesus (not your church) as you can and what he has done for people. And tell them stories that redefine any existing perceptions of him.
  • Rule #2 — They don’t want all the answers; “Get me thinking, but don’t tell me what to think”. (read that somewhere and loved it)
  • Rule #3 — Don’t ask for them for money. In fact, tell them that you don’t want their money.
  • Rule #4 — Be positive. Not negative. Tell them what you stand for, rather than just what you stand against.
  • Rule #5 — Pray. Pray. Pray.
  • Rule #6 — Invites and web sites aren’t going to cut it by themselves. How we live our lives and embody Jesus to our friends and family is the best ‘marketing’ the church will every get.

Is there an example of something that has been effective in Melbourne, but likely wouldn’t translate to other places–a unique solution you guys have found to a problem down under.

Steve: Many of the challenges are similar. Unfortunately in Australia we seem to be further along in the general decline of Christianity than the U.S. Many unchurched people are just so cynical about organised “religion,” but not spirituality. I like what this church is doing to position themselves from a brand perspective. And I love what this church did. Lots of media coverage. Thanks to those remarkable people at GCC!

Tell us one thing about Australia that will make us Americans insanely jealous.

Steve: Oh that’s easy. First the bad news.

The largest crocodiles in the world. Big ones. Snakes. Top 5 most poisonous snakes in the world. Sharks. Big white ones and the rest which are all hungry. Tiny Spiders that can make you very sick. Ten-year-long nationwide drought. 40+C (Editor’s translation: 104+ degrees Farenheit) summer days.

And if you can cope with that then…

The good news. The best wine in the world (did I tell you I’m a Baptist?). The best clean pristine surf in the world. The best coffee in the world. The (second) most liveable city in the world. The best cricket team in the world.

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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4 Responses to “Church Marketing Down Under”

  • Jermayn Parker
    March 5, 2008

    Agree 110% about the fact that the US style of church does not work hear. I have come from a US began church and the culture is so much different. The sooner the Aussie churches style their churches for culture the sooner will we see revival and God move in the land of the Holy Spirit!

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  • Dawn Nicole Baldwin
    March 6, 2008

    Steve–great insights! You really nailed the fundamentals, which I think are just as critical to remember here in the states. (BTW, I’m fairly certain credit for rule #2 goes to Kem Meyer @ GCC :))
    Thanks for sharing
    Dawn Nicole

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  • ko
    March 10, 2008

    Did you watch the recent tri cricket series… I’m not sure we have the best cricket team in the world any more, esp in one day cricket. Pity.
    Love hearing how other churches in Aus are dealing with australian’s apathy or distrust towards christianity.
    BTW, frustrate is a very apt word for the capcha… this is the third attempt, hopefully it goes through.

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  • Simon Burnett
    March 10, 2008

    Its great to hear your story Steve. Great article.

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