Have you spent much time thinking about who you want to reach in your ministry? To whom is your church trying to communicate? Ministers often overlook this basic question. The better you clarify your ministry’s audience the more you will be able to meet their needs.
A target audience represents your focal group—those you hope to communicate with and where you should focus your attention. Without focus, you won’t be able to reach anyone effectively.
True, the gospel is for everyone. Yet not everyone hears the same message in the same way. Not everyone listens to the same radio stations, watches the same TV shows, or reads the same newspapers. If you are going to advertise, you must understand your audience to know what media best reaches those you hope to attract.
Ministers sometimes worry choosing a target audience somehow means they will leave out someone who needs the gospel. Actually, since a single church can’t minister to the needs of everyone in a community, choosing a target will help your church better meet specific ones.
Maintaining a Kingdom mentality
With a Kingdom mentality, you will see the wisdom of matching your gifts to specific people God wants your church to reach. Your church can play a larger role in the Kingdom of Heaven by helping others reach different audiences.
You can join with other churches to help start new churches and support ministries that reach other groups. A typical example of this is when English-speaking churches support those that speak another language.
In your evangelism outreach strategy, identify all the people in your community and plan to reach out to those you are best equipped to reach. Then, be part of the solution of getting the gospel to others you can’t reach effectively. This is truly a Kingdom mentality!
Jesus had this kind of outlook, yet He used targeted communications. Christ didn’t say the same thing to the Samaritan woman (John 4:7-45) that He did to the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-31) or Nicodemus (John 3:1-21.) In each case, He altered His presentation and approach, even though His basic message remained the same.
Targeting different audiences
What made Jesus change His method of approaching different people? In communication terms, each represented a different target audience. In the same way, if you want to be effective, your ministry needs to understand how to target its communications.
Even the best outreach effort won’t go anywhere if the organization doesn’t know to whom they are talking or who they want to reach. Without a target, you can’t hit it.
The greatest problems of churches doing ministry marketing occur when they fail to select a target audience.
An example is when many advertise using “churchy” terms and expressions. Yet, when the general public sees such an ad, those who don’t understand the lingo are left out. They miss the point.
Selecting a target audience will help you learn about the people you want to reach. It will help you understand them better and communicate with them. Effective communication begins when you know to whom you are speaking.
Just as a missionary begins working in a mission field by learning the culture and its language, you too must design your ministry communications to reach those in terms they can understand.
That’s good branding.