Advertising Your Church (Pt. 1)

I thought I’d do a series on advertising your church, but I have to admit up front that I have mixed emotions about advertising a church. We’ve had periods at Forefront where we did quite a bit, and then we had a couple years in a row where we did none. Was it because of money? No. Because of some shift in strategy? No. Because of Vince’s fickle and contradictory nature? Yes. But for this series of posts I’m going to ignore the issues I have and just be pro-advertising.

I should also tell you that I’m not an expert. I am really intrigued by the world of advertising, could picture working in that field, have read several books on it – but that’s about it. Except that I do have some experience with this, having done various forms of advertising for the past ten years at Forefront.

So … should churches advertise? Well, you could get some no answers on that one, but here’s the yes answer: Matthew 5:15-16 tells us to not hide our light but to let it shine for all to see. I do realize that advertising doesn’t necessarily show the world the “light” of Christ in us. But if we believe that the church has the greatest message in the world, there’s certainly a good argument to make that we should use whatever methods we can to get it out.

The biggest reason I had us stop adverting for two years was because we became known in our area as “the church on the radio” – not meaning that we broadcast our sermons on the radio, but that we were the church with the commercials on the secular radio stations. After hearing that a lot (“Oh, you’re with Forefront … the church on the radio!”) I decided that it wasn’t what I wanted us to be known for. I wanted to be known as the church that loved its community, the church where lives are changed, the church where grace is given, or the church that really loves God and loves people – not as the church on the radio.

I still agree with that, but there is something worse than being known as the church on the radio, and it’s not being known at all.

– featured on