The Message of Jesus offers freedom, hope, and new life! Churches, and ELCIC churches are no exception, have not always done a good job at helping that Message reach a new generation. Today, church signage or an ad in the local newspaper does not reach people like it did in 1960. What if Lutheran churches re-visited the way we communicate to people in our neighborhood? What if we had useful websites and clear communication strategies?
A popular blog called Church Marketing Sucks has a mission to “to frustrate, educate and motivate the church to communicate, with uncompromising clarity, the truth of Jesus Christ.” Among other things, it’s a tongue-in-cheek look at how bad the church has been at communication.
Another great resource comes from Clover Sites. They offer some of the cheapest, most functional church websites I have ever seen. The advantages of having usable church website is huge in an age where people find restaurants, malls, and even churches through google maps. You can demo everything for free – very cool stuff!
So let’s get creative about the way we reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Hey…I went on the Church Marketing Sucks Website and found this:
Blog posting of June 11, 2009
You Can’t Advertise Problems Away: Ad Campaigns of the Mainline Denominations
“…This quote hurts: ‘Study after study has shown that religions that grow are the ones that are hard-core in some way. They have something that differs sharply from the culture in which they operate,’ says Boston University’s [Stephen] Prothero. ‘That’s the problem with mainline Protestantism: It’s not different enough from mainstream America.’ (emphasis mine) …”
I like the quote – reminding me of a book I was re-reading, Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe. The main character, Ian, totally messes up his brother’s, sister-in-law’s, and their kids’ lives…and he finds a church of the Second Chance. The minister there says he needs to repent and offer reparation, and if that means utterly transforming his life, so be it. When Ian explains this to his parents, they object, saying “Of course we have nothing against religion; we raised all of you children to be Christians. But our church never asked us to abandon our entire way of life.”
“Well, maybe it should have,” Ian said. (pp. 136-137).
Elsewhere the Church Marketing Sucks site talks about product, packaging, promotion, pricing, and placement in church marketing. I guess I always figured if our product is real, we’ll be so passionate about it that everything else (the other 4 Ps) will fall into place – our sheer excitement will carry us through. We abandon what might be easy and embrace the other Way…and that is our best “marketing.”