5 Church Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

5 Church Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

January 5, 2015 by

Welcome to the new year. The holidays are officially over and we’re back to work.

Easter is 13 weeks away.

(Sorry, but the church calendar rolls on.)

Before the church communication grind officially takes over, let’s take a moment. It’s a new year. It’s a new opportunity. It’s a time for reflection and resolutions. But more than just well wishes and lofty goals, let’s be resolute. Let’s make some changes for a better, healthier, more awesome year.

It’s a new year. So let’s not treat it like any old year.

Here are five church marketing resolutions for this new year. Just pick one. And own it. Commit to it. Make it happen.

1. Take Care of Yourself

This can be a tough job. You need to take care of yourself or you’ll end up another cynical, dejected former church staffer.

We’re serious about this. We started a whole category to cover it. You need to take care of yourself. You need to recharge. You need stop the comparisons. You need to know what you need.

There are a lot of ways to take care of yourself, whether it’s starting a creative Friday or going for a walk.

One big way to take care of yourself is to go to an event. Find one of the many church communication events out there and book it. Find room in your budget for team sanity and make it happen. Go and learn together. Or pick an event that doesn’t relate to church communication but would still be powerful for your team. Maybe it’s a local meetup or a professional design or marketing conference. Maybe you need TED Talk Tuesdays.

Maybe it’s not an event. Maybe it’s lunch with your pastor once a month. Or a weekly team coffee break.

Or a big box of Legos at your desk. We all need that.

Maybe you need some sanity chocolates. Maybe you need to start running again. Maybe you need to do both and see if it balances out.

Figure out what it is you need to do to take care of yourself and do it.

2. Connect With Communicators

You’re not alone. Find some people. Connect with your tribe. We strongly encourage local meetups of church communicators. If there’s not one in your area, start one. If the group isn’t meeting, get it going. If you have to call a few churches and introduce yourself to whoever does the communications work, do it.

Just find your fellow strugglers and get together. Converse. Commiserate. Share each other’s pain. It can be your breath of fresh air.

3. Read a Book

I love to read, so this one is easy for me to suggest. Seriously—I read 203 books in 2014 (which I realize is kind of demotivating, but a lot of them were short!). But still, read a book. Books can be a great way to get out of your own space and consider a different perspective.

Marketing and communication books can be practical and helpful:

But sometimes practical and helpful isn’t what you need. Of my 203 books not very many (5? 6?) were practical or helpful. I like a good story. So even reading a novel is great. A good book forces you to consider different perspectives. It allows you to get in the head of your visitors.

I can recommend a few stories that might be interesting (A few are short… chapter books and graphic novels are totally legit reads—you’re not in school and this isn’t an assignment):

  • Every Day by David Levithan – The ultimate story for getting into someone else’s head… a YA story about a character who wakes up in a different body every day.
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – A classic about faith and doubt among missionaries in Africa.
  • Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate – A children’s novel in verse about a Somali immigrant boy adjusting to life in Minnesota.
  • Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins – Two perspectives on the conflict in Burma—a child soldier and a refugee—come crashing together. This story hits home for me because large numbers of a related ethnic group in the same situation are moving to the Twin Cities as refugees.
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – A preacher’s kid comes to terms with death in 1960s Minnesota.
  • Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kristin Cronn-Mills – YA is good for getting into different perspectives. Want something really different? This is the story of a girl who thinks she’s a guy. Yes, a transgendered story. It can be a tough read, but if Elizabeth/Gabe were in your neighborhood, how would you react?
  • When the Black Girl Sings by Bil Wright – A YA novel about an adopted girl struggling with her identity and finding a measure of solace in the church choir.
  • Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang – A graphic novel offering alternate perspectives on the Boxer Rebellion from a peasant in the uprising and a Christian facing persecution.
  • Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson – The breakout comic book of 2014 starring a teenage Muslim superhero.

I could go on and on with recommendations. But the idea is to find something that helps you connect with people. Read about someone different from yourself, discover a new perspective, consider an issue you normally wouldn’t. Whether it’s a Muslim immigrant, a refugee, an adoptee, a trans person, a kid unsure about faith, etc., we can find stories of struggle where grace is so desperately needed. It doesn’t have to be a “Christian” novel or even a story of faith to offer us lessons and inspiration that can impact our work.

And that’s the beauty of reading.

4. Go Further With a Skill

You know your stuff, right? Of course you do. But there’s probably at least one area where you can improve. Push yourself this year. Tackle that one area. Learn something new. Figure out how to do something new in Photoshop. Or learn those pesky grammar rules you always ignore. Or finally learn how to use that stupid copy machine.

Expand your skills this year. Find a way to grow. Maybe you need to take a class. Or plunk down the change for that fancy book and spend some evenings wrestling with something new. Maybe it’s an online class or maybe you hire a coach.

But resolve to get better this year. No more excuses. No more thinking it doesn’t matter. Bring back the excellence.

5. Enjoy Church Again

Working where you go to church can introduce all kinds of awkwardness. You need to find ways to separate your job from your faith.

Maybe you have no problem sitting through church and ignoring the typos or the missed cues. Good for you.

But the rest of us can struggle with church. We want it to be something it isn’t, and settling is not something we’re good at. So it can be easier to tune out the sermon. To focus on taking pictures during worship and not actually worship. And if you have to sit with your kids for any part of church, well, I end up either shushing my children and missing out on everything, or use so much energy forcing myself to not shush my children that I miss out on everything anyway.

Resolve to experience church again this year and enjoy it.

Leave the job and the responsibilities behind, forget the kids and the distractions and engage like you try so hard to get everyone else to.

Go to a different service by yourself. Stop by a mid-week service if that works. Even try a different church if you need to—sometimes you can’t focus on worship when it’s your work. You need that different setting. Maybe even a different style of church altogether would break you out of your rut. Cradle Episcopalians might need some free-wheeling, contemporaneous prayer. And lifelong Baptists might find the liturgy to be moving and poetic.

It’s a New Year

It’s a brand new year. Let’s resolve to make it better.


We do important work—sharing the gospel—but that doesn’t mean we can work ourselves to death. Learn more about how to fight church communicator burnout.

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 “5 Church Marketing Resolutions for the New Year”

  • Christopher
    January 5, 2015

    According to my church calendar, it’s still Christmas!

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  • David
    January 6, 2015

    Thanks for the motivating article!

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  • Melinda
    January 7, 2015

    Dear Kevin,
    Happy new year to you!

    I need every single word you wrote, well almost.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.


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  • Bristol Caldwell
    January 7, 2015

    Dear Kevin,
    Excellent article! Marketing is a very important tool to use for all endeavors in life. Without the communication of a product, idea, service, even prayer request, not much moves forward!
    On the lines of personal and coporate (ie church) marketing, I have found Josh Tolley to be a great motivator. I heard his Evangelpreneur seminar and left impressed until the 10-day “Why” challenge hit and my life was changed! Smart marketing is key!!

    Thanks a bunch – Bristol

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  • Eric Dye
    January 23, 2015

    Me likes. :)

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