5 Things Evangelical Churches, Ministries and Denominations Should Consider to Stay Relevant

Dan Gilgoff, of U.S. News & World Report, wrote an interesting article detailing some of the branding efforts of mainline denominations as they attempt to combat a 25% drop in membership.

His article caused me to reflect on how sensitized evangelicals are to the same issues.

I have concerns about how well evangelicals are doing in this area and would like to offer a few observations and suggestions to help churches, ministries and denominations stay relevant in today’s culture:

1. Realize that every decision is a brand decision. Like it or not, you are developing your personal and ministry brand(s) every day with each and every decision you make. What is the essence of your brand? Are people drawn to it?

2. Good branding is much more than a decent logo or identity. It’s about an organic and even heartfelt connection that people have with you and your organization as your words and actions resonate with them. It’s about relationship, communication and presentation. It’s about the tone and quality of your message. It’s about style. It’s about vibe.

3. Your church, ministry or denomination may need a branding makeover. I believe that you should always be intentional about assessing, and if needed, overhauling your brand to remain fresh in the same way that you care about financial integrity, being missional and reaching people. This should be a priority and there should be a line item (or several) in your budget allocated for it.

4. In each and every evangelical church, ministry and denomination, at least one person should emerge as the brand guardian, manager and developer. If you don’t have a qualified person in your ministry, start head hunting and/or outsourcing immediately. Or, maybe you are that person!

5. Branding and marketing practices are just tools that should be leveraged to help ministries expand their footprint so more people can hear the glorious message of the Gospel. These tools need to be utilized more frequently and more effectively.

You and I probably agree that there are serious spiritual issues that are way more important than branding and marketing issues. While I’ve not attempted to explore them in this post, they are obviously critical to ensure that ministries are vibrant, healthy and relevant.

Would you please help me expand this post? Feel free to hit me with suggestions and let’s add to the list. Cool? What would you like to see on this list that is important for your church, ministry or denomination to be relevant?



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5 thoughts on “5 Things Evangelical Churches, Ministries and Denominations Should Consider to Stay Relevant

  1. Clearly the church in general needs to be more relevant today. There’s nothing wrong with “give me that ole time religion” but especially in today’s economic and cultural climate the whole ballgame has changed.

    It is critical that pastors “walk the talk” and avoid the very public midlife crises that some of them have that manifest in buying a new toy, like a fancy car or even a motorcyle. When members of their congregation may be losing their jobs or retirement, no one wants to see that kind of display of wealth. I’m not suggesting that pastors live a life of asceticism, but I do suggest that they be sensitive to the current economic climate that we’re in.

    Secondly, during a time when Eastern influences have become so mainstreamed into our culture as to be seamless, pastors MUST stay on top of what their congregants are reading and hearing, i.e. “The Secret” and “The New Earth” and not categorically dismiss these movements as “fringe.” In addition to preaching the traditional sermons about David and Goliath, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, et al, pastors should be willing to stick their necks out and do sermons on some of the topics of the day. They could then circle back around to the Gospel and how the Gospel is THE answer, not “The Secret” and these other self-help books that restate Biblical principles but don’t give the Bible adequate credit.

    These are just some of the ideas I have. There are many more. Hope this helps!



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