Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Marketing and the church

Thanks to Jennifer Huehns, Chain of Lakes’ crack Administrator, a group within Chain of Lakes has been working on a Marketing plan.  We hope to be done by the middle of February when the plan will be presented to the Steering Committee of Chain of Lakes for approval.
This is really the second part of our Marketing plan.  When I came to Chain of Lakes I shared that we needed to develop a Purpose Statement and Core Values.  The Purpose Statement answers the question, “why do you exist” Each of the eight Core Values at Chain of Lakes is a principle, quality, belief, and or/attitude that is foundational to our community
Our Purpose Statement and Core Values have formed the identity of our new church.   We love our Purpose Statement and Core Values.  They can be found at  Not a Sunday goes by when we don’t reference them.
During our Marketing meetings it became apparent that Chain of Lakes needs a new tag line.  In our minds a tag line is a very short statement that describes our new congregation.  It has to be consistent with our Purpose Statement and Core Values.  A tag line could be used in a casual conversation by a person from Chain of Lakes with another person.  If someone asked a Chain of Lakes participant what our new church is all about then the tag line could be shared.
I realize that some people believe that the church should not even be in the marketing business.  The thought process goes that marketing seems like selling, and we shouldn’t be selling God.  God doesn’t need to be sold, branded or have a tag line like Coca Cola or Nike or other successful companies.
I agree that God does not need to be marketed; however I have no problem with a church or group of churches sharing a message.  At Chain of Lakes we want to communicate who we are, really our identity.  Our marketing ministry doesn’t replace our worship ministry or education or service or works of justice or any ministry.  Our marketing complements these ministries.   
It’s my experience that most churches do a very poor job of marketing.  It’s not an accident that a popular web site is called “church marketing sucks.”  The idea of the site is not that marketing should not be done; instead the idea is that the quality of church marketing is poor.
When I drove into work this morning I saw a gigantic red sign on the outer wall of the Blaine campus of Eagle Brook that said, “Try church again” along with the church’s logo.  I know that some Presbyterians would throw up if they saw the sign.  My first thought when I saw the gigantic sign was “that’s really good.”  Eagle Brook is obviously appealing to people who have gone to church in the past and might try again during the Christmas season.  That’s smart.
This past Monday our Marketing group was experimenting with different tag lines.  We experimented with a lot of them.  At the end of our gathering threw out this one, “Regular people discovering a place to belong.”  That phrase resonated with us. 
Yesterday I asked my Facebook friends their opinion of the tag line.  I received all sorts of comments—ranging from love to horror.  The comments can be read at:!/hmoorepaul  I have no idea what the ultimate tag line at Chain of Lakes will be.  I do know that every comment we receive about it will help us refine what we will ultimately use.
We in the church have a message about God and about our local congregations that can transform people’s lives.  If we do a poor job of communicating the message won’t make an impact.
I’m interested in your thoughts.  What do you think about the church “doing” marketing?  What are your thoughts about this possible tag line?

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