The Biblical Basis for Church MarketingLast Updated: April 18th, 2023

Does the word marketing leave a bad taste in your mouth when it’s in the same sentence as the words church or ministry? Most Christians have seen church marketing go bad more times than they can count. When done poorly, it comes off as gimmicky and tacky. 

Our goal as God’s people should not be to “sell Jesus.” So most good churches want to differentiate themselves from the Christians who focus more on money-grabbing and magic tricks than true discipleship. However, marketing is necessary to connect with new visitors online and invite them to join your church community. So what’s the biblical basis for church marketing, and how can we do it well? This blog aims to answer that question.

What is Church Marketing?

For some people, the word marketing makes them think of narcissistic businessmen or slimy car salesmen. It can feel boastful, prideful, or dishonest. Yet church marketing doesn’t need to be this way. To put it simply, church marketing is just the process of communicating what your church has to offer people who may not know what you’re all about. 

It is a terrible shame for a church to have a great children’s program, yet parents in the community have never heard of it. As Christians, we are eager to serve people in our communities, and the best way to do this is by spreading the word about the programs you offer. 

The Biblical Basis for Church Marketing

God’s Kingdom is All About Invitation

In Isaiah 6:8, the prophet wrote, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’” God commanded Isaiah to go and share His words so people could hear and understand the message of the Lord. This was not distinct to Isaiah, though. Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord commissioned prophets to call His people into repentance, and share prophesies promising a Messiah. From the very beginning of Scripture, God used people like Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, and so many others to share His truth and invite people into the Kingdom of God. 

As churches consider their ministry plans for the year, every department should prioritize inviting people to join you. This can mean congregants inviting their friends to your next church event, but it can also mean inviting people online to join your Sunday service. Remember that you are an ambassador of the gospel and an agent of hospitality in a hostile world, and extend a warm invitation into God’s Kingdom. 

Jesus Set an Example for Sharing the Gospel

Jesus grew up in Nazareth, but He didn’t stay there. Throughout His ministry, He traveled to many surrounding towns and regions to share the good news. Many of the religious leaders had become closed-minded and didn’t want to welcome gentiles or outcasts into their community. Yet Jesus was different. He actively sought out the least likely people and invited them to follow Him. The good news of God was always meant to be shared. 

Matthew 9:35 says, “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” There were times when people questioned His methods, but Jesus always corrected their theology as He did in Luke 4:43, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

Followers of Jesus are called to Share the Good News

When followers of Jesus were asking Him questions, He relayed several stories about sharing the good news of God’s kingdom. In Matthew 5:14, He told His disciples that they should let their light shine and not hide it. They would be like a city on a hill that shines out, even over the darkest valleys. 

Later, Jesus commissioned the twelve disciples to go to different regions so more people could hear the good news of the Kingdom. Jesus didn’t tell them to keep quiet or stay in the Jewish synagogue. Instead, they were sent out.

In Matthew 9:37–38, Jesus taught His disciples why this dispersion was necessary. People all over the world are hungry for a relationship with God. He told the disciples that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. This is why the Lord of the harvest sends workers out into the field. 

Jesus Commanded His Followers to “Go” and Share the Good News

Matthew 28:19–20 says, “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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This is the great commission on which Christians base our mission. We put our faith into action when we tell others of Jesus, which is exactly what church marketing is. The concept of “go and make disciples of all nations” is the foundation for why churches do outreach events. 

In Mark 16:15, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” We are called to proclaim the gospel and help more people come to know God. A very practical way to put this into practice is by engaging with people who don’t yet have a church family. Whether they have never been to church before or are looking for a new church, employ marketing tools like advertising, blogs, emails, or lead magnets to invite them to be part of your church family. As they attend church services and get involved, they walk through the next steps in their faith journey, which hopefully leads even more people to hear the gospel and be baptized. 

The Apostle Paul Went From Town to Town to Share the Gospel

Throughout his ministry, the apostle Paul traveled from town to town, sharing the gospel and establishing churches. As he traveled, and even when he was in prison for the sake of the gospel, he wrote letters instructing fellow believers how to live out their faith. He told them to follow his example, just like he was following Christ’s example. 

In Acts 15:36, Paul said, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” So not only did he travel to different towns, but he continued to check in with believers and have further touchpoints to make sure the people he initially preached to were doing well. We can mirror this in our church marketing by following up with people we’ve made contact with in the past. If someone downloaded a devotional about doubt, we can serve them well by sending more encouragement resources, and even personal messages to see how they’re doing.

The Early Church Continued This Pattern

The early church was passionate about living out their faith and loving each other. In Acts 2, Scripture tells us they met together frequently and even sold their possessions so no one was in need. Yet although they met together often, this did not mean ceasing to reach out and share the gospel with new people. Acts 5:42 states that even after the believers were tortured and persecuted and instructed not to speak the name of Jesus, they were not deterred. “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”

Evangelism and discipleship can take many forms. Sometimes like the early church, we meet and worship God together. At other times, we go from house to house, sharing the good news with people. But in today’s current age of technology, when some people rarely have to leave their homes, we can share God’s Word digitally. The early Christians used every available means to share the gospel, and we should too.

People Need to Hear the Good News

In our present day, there are more and more people, even within our own neighborhoods and communities, who have never heard about Jesus and have never been invited to church. Romans 10:14–17 says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

We live in a society where many people have never been to church, and they don’t know what the church does. Your church may offer incredible programs to serve your community, but without hearing about them, people will never benefit from them. It’s our responsibility to tell our communities who we are, what we do, and how we can help them. Church marketing does this by clearly conveying your message on websites and through blogs, advertising, emails, and social media.

All Christians Are Called to Share the Good News

Matthew 24:13 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” None of us have been called home to heaven yet. Until that day, we must share the good news about Jesus with those around us. 

Sometimes these interactions are face-to-face, but they are increasingly done online. People spend hours on the web each day, often more time than they spend at social functions, so it stands to reason that some people connect with friends or family digitally more than they do in person. When a church has digital resources to offer the community and online avenues to share God’s Word, they equip their people to share the truth of Scripture by every means possible.

How Church Marketing Can Multiply Impact

The Bible speaks clearly about stewarding resources wisely. The parable of the talents emphasizes that those who are given little are called to be faithful with little, and those who are given much are called to be faithful with much. So what resources have been entrusted to your church? 

If you offer an addiction recovery ministry and have the resources to minister well in that area, don’t you think God would be pleased if more people heard about it and experienced freedom? Church marketing multiplies the influence of your programs and ministries so more people can benefit. By sharing generously the resources God has entrusted you with, He is further glorified, and His Kingdom grows.

Using Church Marketing to Speak Their Language

In 1 Corinthians 9:19–23, Paul writes, “For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.”

Church marketing may take many forms, but the emphasis should be meeting people where they are. For example, if someone is typing “how to deal with marriage problems” into Google, wouldn’t it be great if your church had a page on the website offering answers? Of course, they may not even know about your church or your annual marriage seminar. Still, by meeting them in their time of need and speaking their language, you can cultivate a relationship where they trust you to be a source of spiritual wisdom. 

Other churches might solve this problem by offering a “How Healthy is your Marriage?” quiz or a healthy marriage checklist. These are not gimmicks or tactics, and you’re not trying to trick them into buying something they don’t need. Instead, you’re using every tool and resource available to meet their real-world needs with meaningful answers that have eternal rewards. 

Church Marketing Isn’t the End of the Story—it’s the Beginning

Pastors and church staff know that ministry happens best in the context of relationships. This is why the church is so powerful. We need the church body around us to grow a healthy, thriving faith. A nice blog post or marriage quiz will never replace in-person relationships. However, it can be a way to start them. 

Church marketing always has the goal of meeting people face-to-face. Your church isn’t providing Christian content to be the next famous YouTube channel or internet influencer. Instead, it’s a tool to help initiate introductions that can lead to lasting relationships. When you generate leads through a contact form, quiz, or landing page, you can send a series of personalized messages offering more resources for each person’s felt need and then invite them to attend your church or event in person. By meeting their needs first, you establish that you care about them, which makes them want to come to see what you and your church are all about. 

Every good church marketing strategy eventually leads to more church members. But it has to start somewhere. So in a world where most people spend hours in front of a screen each day, there’s no better place to offer a helping hand and turn strangers into friends you just haven’t met yet.

Next Steps

If you’re a church marketing newbie wanting to understand how to engage with people online in a genuine, Biblical way, check out our content. At Missional Marketing, we help churches across North America (and beyond) find lost people and bring them home to a restored relationship with the God who loves them. We believe the local church is a beacon of hope in a dark world. Our marketing professionals work hard to help church leaders leverage modern digital tools that multiply the number of people who find a real relationship with Jesus. To discuss ways we can help your ministry, reach out to us today.

Book A Call

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *