IS CHURCH MARKETING BIBLICAL?
The phrase ‘church marketing’ evokes varying responses from the pastoral community. We have done hundreds of marketing campaigns for churches and the vast majority of the pastors we talk with are enthusiastic about the services we offer.
On the other hand, some of the church staff members who see ads that we run promoting our church marketing services to churches raise their eyebrows when they read ‘church marketing’. For example, we recently ran an ad on LinkedIn and a Pastor commented that “Somehow ‘church’ and ‘marketing’ don’t sound right together”.
So in this article we will explore the technical reasons that we use the phrase ‘church marketing’ in our promotional efforts and we’ll also explore whether it is scriptural to engage in church marketing.
THE GREAT COMMISSION
Jesus’ “Great Commission” is found in Matthew 28:19-20:“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
This was not a request, it was a directive that we must follow. Jesus clearly wants us to share His message of hope and redemption. However the modern world has new ways of reaching people.
PROS AND CONS OF CHURCH MARKETING
One problem with the word ‘marketing’ is that it is usually used in the business world. So it can have connotations of operating for a profit and using aggressive tactics to capture customers. However there are many important reasons businesses excel that can be of benefit to the church. For example business leaders have established some of the best approaches to budgeting, process management, and information technology.
There is also the fear that ‘marketing’ the church leads to sanitizing the more difficult aspects of the Bible. Church’s that get too far into marketing could start to act like they are in show business rather than teaching and saving.
Churches should carefully choose which marketing approaches to use. They must avoid using approaches that in any way water down, white wash, or alter Scripture.
For many years churches have effectively used billboards, direct mail, and phone book ads. More recently churches are effectively using Facebook, Google, Instagram, YouTube, Websites, and television in ways that honor the Word of God while at the same time pursuing the Great Commission.
HOW KEYWORDS WORK
The internet is driven by keywords. When people are searching for something, they’ll usually key in the shortest phrase they can think of to find what they’re looking for. For example, somebody searching for a church might key in the phrase ‘Christian Church’, or ‘Presbyterian Church’.
Similarly, a church staff member who is looking for additional help on growing their church is highly likely to key in the phrase ‘church marketing’. How do we know this? Because Google keeps track of every search phrase and tallies up how many times per month any given phrase is searched. So we do keyword research to decide which phrases are likely to get us found.
WEBSITES SHOULD BE OPTIMIZED AROUND KEYWORDS
When a Christian organization is building a website, the first and most important decision they should make is what the keywords that the website will be built upon will be.
For example, a Christian church should most definitely include the keyword ‘Christian Church’. This is because this is the phrase that people who are looking for a church will key into Google. Similarly, a Church Communications firm should most definitely include the phrase ‘church marketing’ in their list of keywords.
The technical reason we use the phrase ‘church marketing’ is so we can be found when churches are searching for us.
PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW YOUR CHURCH EXISTS
People need to be reached. There are people who live near your church who don’t know Jesus. There are single mothers, children without fathers, and families that are drifting. How is your church reaching them?
It is worth reading this article on churchleaders.com.
An in-depth article on subject of church marketing appears in Christianity Today.
John Frame explores this subject in his article Is it Wrong to Market the Church?
Contact Jason Hamrock or Kevin Peck, or use the Contact Us button.
Jason Hamrock – Phone: 480-773-9115 | Email: email@example.com
Kevin Peck – Phone: 602-481-2991 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org