Advertising Your Church (Pt. 4)

We’ve been doing a series on advertising. I think I got some of the stuff I’ve been saying from a book I read once, but I’m not sure if that’s true, and if it’s true I don’t know what book. Some of it is probably coming from my brain (or spleen). So, anyway, our question today is: When is your church ready to begin advertising?

(1) When you have a clearly defined vision, philosophy of ministry, and strategy. If not, I would guess that your advertising might not even bring people in. And, if it does, but your church isn’t clicking on all cylinders, there is very little chance you’ll keep the new people.

(2) When you have identified your target group. This is probably a subject for a whole other series of posts, and you may think targeting a certain group of people is evil, but the reality is that if you target everyone you will likely reach no one. Advertising that appeals to 20 year olds doesn’t appeal to 50 year olds. Advertising that appeals to women may not appeal to men. Advertising that appeals to fans of Ginger may not appeal to fans of Mary-Anne. Know your community and what niche you’re most effective in reaching.

(3) When you understand the limitations of advertising. For more on advertising’s limits, see this post. But here’s more: Church advertising tends to appeal mostly to … church people. I’m assuming you don’t want to reach church people. (If you do, my blog is definitely not for you.) For a church to reach non-churched people through advertising … the advertising needs to be pretty radical. I also think that as our culture changes, churches’ ability to reach non-churched people through advertising is diminishing.

(4) When you can back up the advertising with the right programs and sufficient leadership. Let’s say your advertising works and brings in 100 people. Do you have the ability to effectively get 100 people connected? Assimilated? Involved? Discipled? Do you have enough leaders to start eight new small groups for them? And if the answer to any of those questions is no, should you really advertise? And wouldn’t God be crazy to give you people that you couldn’t take care of? I wouldn’t give my kids to a babysitter who wasn’t prepared to handle them.

– featured on