Communications in ministry today is loaded with borrowed terminology. We rely heavily on “the world” for our vocabulary when it comes to getting the word out. Sadly, modern ad agencies excel in communication far beyond the efforts of the Church. Madison Avenue often reaches the eyes and ears of our people far more quickly and effectively than we do.
This does not have to be the case but it is the case. That is why leaders are so sensitive when the word “marketing” is introduced to their weekly church staff meeting. We don’t want to “market” the Gospel. “Marketing” somehow reeks of theological compromise. After all, we want to subvert the evil tactics of the world; not perpetuate them.
But what if you adjusted your understanding of the word “marketing” to a more accurate definition? What if “marketing” could be reclaimed for the Gospel?
Evangelical theologian and scholar Carl F. H. Henry once said, “The Gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.” As ministers of the Gospel, we need to be quicker and more persuasive than Madison Avenue. It is our mission, and it is your responsibility, to “market” your ministry if you are driven by the Great Commission.
The term “marketing” is too often perverted into a sort of glam deception schema that preys on the appetites of the public. Let’s stop there: Is that what comes to your mind when you consider a marketing strategy?
The way you communicate demonstrates what you think about the value of your message. The world is trained to watch for signals, both visual and audible, that tell them what is important and what is not. Your ministry’s website testifies to the power of the Gospel. Even your service bulletin stakes claims about the Kingdom.
Don’t get me wrong; the Kingdom of God is not about websites and bulletins, but your ministry will succeed or fail, at least in part, based on the level of seriousness with which you take your message. If your message is important you will ensure that people hear it quickly and effectively. In other words . . . you will ResonateOrDie.
Gospel leaders who “market” their ministries well should do so out of consideration for the lost. To do so for some other reason is vanity. Gospel leaders who do not “market” their ministries well demonstrate contempt for the lost. That is equally, if not more grotesquely, vain. Let me be clear: you should only market within, your means. “Your power” to do so might be great or it might be small. If your resources are abundant, be a good steward. If your resources are limited, be a good steward. The point is to “market” effectively, not to “market” expensively.
So don’t be afraid when your staff brings up ministry marketing in your next weekly meeting. You are not selling out to the world to have this conversation. It is not vain to “market” your ministry. It is vain not to.