Marketing is Secondary

October 21, 2004 by

“I don’t think we should try to improve our marketing until we first go back and look at our message, our content and our people.” -Brian McLaren (see our interview)

Marketing needs to come out of who a church is, what their message is and who they are as a people. If the marketing sucks, then the problem might go deeper.

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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7 Responses to “Marketing is Secondary”

  • DG
    October 21, 2004

    Totally agree Kevin. I am currently a part of a church now, that has no idea who they are, but they are trying to market themselves anyway. It is very sad really, and the funny thing is the church is known in our community, but known as, “the Pumpkin church.” I guess being known is better than not being known, heh.
    It sure would be great to be known as “the loving church” or “the helping church”, or even “the church that lives Christianity in a real way, that I kind of like” heh Thanks for the interview and post!

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  • Rhinoguy
    October 22, 2004

    Our church is “The church across the street from [much larger church].”

    Don’t know if that’s better or worse than “The Pumpkin Church.”

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  • Anthony
    April 1, 2005

    If an organization will use their newfound awareness of and interest in marketing as a reason to first take a deep, long and profoundly honest look into themselves, then walking down the “yellow brick road” can be a good thing. Some may doggedly chant “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but the bone marrow TRUTH is that all of us are somewhat broken and in need of fixing in some way or another – and therefore, by default, all of our organizations are somewhat broken and in need fixing in some way or another. As a friend of mine has said: “marketing is NOT a four letter word, and neither is PR”….. Jesus Himself said that we must FIRST cast the beam out of our own eye…and THEN we can see more clearly…….. along that vein….let’s hear it for “surgical marketing”

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  • Mike
    December 13, 2005

    A church, just like any other organization that markets itself, must know who they are before they can effectively market. My church has a vision statement that is displayed for everyone to see and every decision we make concerning the church’s direction must go against the vision statement and be in line with the church’s overall vision. Otherwise, it might be ‘good stuff’ but it’s not what we’re about so we stay away from it.

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  • Durand
    January 16, 2006

    Cross-cultural confessions.
    I’m an American that’s been living in Europe for the last 20+ years. Going back “home” becomes more painfully foreign to me every time.
    I think it’s especially hard when I come back to find “the next BIG thing” being hocked as essential for a healthy church. They’re usually not bad things, and might be important for certain situations in the US. But some of them arrive in Europe and are being force-fit into contexts for which they were never intended because “that’s what churches are doing now.”
    My baby-boomer big brothers wanted to change the world by finding the “formula” that would turn it around and head it toward Christ. But I’m learning a lot form my little brothers just starting out the journey of lives of faith.
    They remind me that the purpose of the church is to help people live out their authentic love for God, having been made right with Him through Christ, to experience real community with others who follow Him and to be the kind of neighbors that influence those around them to consider Him.
    OK, so that doesn’t sound anything like marketing to me. Our fellowships do need to grow in size and influence, and they’ll do it in part through building a reputation that is authentic and effective. (See 1 Thess. 1) It’s a combination of communicating who they are and who God is together with living it out in ways that make sense to those around them.
    If effective, authentic communication about who we are and what we believe can be called “marketing”, then it’s definitely a part of the solution for growing and reproducing healthy churches.
    But the more we rely on God’s Spirit to draw people as we honor him, the less we’ll feel the pull to cross over into the darker side of marketing where we make that job our own.

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  • Chadwik
    April 5, 2006

    Are we marketing our churches or Christ? it sounds like we are competing with each other rather than other philosopies and/or religions. As long as we keep thinking of the church as “my building” or “our congregation” our marketing will always suck!

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  • The thing about marketing is that no one listens to you unless you really are excited about what you offer. I feel in many ways that churches have become country clubs and forgotten the real point.
    I love what Paul said and use this scripture to keep in mind when I preach, “I have determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified!” If we can remember that the whole bible points to Jesus and not our own self improvement we would do a better job at leading others to Him. Because He draws men to Him when HE is lifted up… after that we become like Him anyway.
    Advertising your church is great… but make sure you have a church that is worth it’s salt.

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