Monday, May 17, 2010

Church and Marketing

As I have been diving into this sermon series on Witness based on Adam Hamilton's book Selling Swimsuits in the Arctic, I have been wrestling with some issues. I have come to the conclusion that we do have some things to learn from the business world on how we can become better at reaching out to the community and bringing people in.

This video has been out in a while but it is has some very valid points.

Going to Beyond Relevance's web page there is a very good blog over there talking about marketing and churches. One of these issues I have been wrestling with is 'branding'. Do churches' really need to brand themselves? This was brought to my attention even more when I attended a training event at another church in our district that is only 10 years old. When you walked in to the lobby everything looked uniform, put together, and it all matched. All there signs matched and were easy to see. Their church logo was on everything and the outside, from landscaping to the brick worked, matched the inside. It was like a model home.

Now model homes are set up to give you the allusion that if you bought this style house that your house could look like this. They are comfortable and welcoming. I think too many times church buildings miss out on this. There seems to be two different styles that exist out there (there are probably many more, please share if you know of one).

1. Cooperate Look. When you walk into the building there is a cooperate feel to it. Everything is washed and cleansed of any personality. The foyer/entrance is bare and bland. Hospital hall ways have more personality. The church office looks just like the 9-5 office you came from, cubicles, oatmeal walls and dated computers. It reminds you of the doctor's office, a place you would rather not be.

2. The Hodgepodge. Since the church building was built in the forties it has collected all the furniture from everyone who has died in each decade. A velvet Jesus painting, a 70's green sofa, and the art deco 80's clock all mark the hallways as one enters the church. There are old chalk boards in the class room and original folding chairs in the fellowship hall. The church screams piecemeal. It is just one large youth room full of old sofas people no longer wanted but somehow thought youth would want to sit on.

The physical appearance of our churches is extremely important when it comes to welcoming new people. It is the first impression a church gives and it is one that will dictate whether a person will stay or keep church shopping. How is your church selling itself to new eyes?

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