Considerable Complexity – Social Marketing

Many congregations are rethinking how they spend their limited marketing/advertising dollars.  In most cases less and less money is allocated for print (phone book, direct mail, etc.) in order to free up additional funds for new media.  While this shift seems logical, the next steps are far less clear.  One of the troublesome aspects of entering this new arena is the considerable complexity of social marketing.  The graphic below, from Buddy Media, illustrates this quite well. So Read More …

Is Your Church’s Website Visitor Friendly?

Most people visit your church's website before visiting your congregation's physical campus.  How welcoming is your site for prospective visitors?  Tyler Walworth recently suggested assessing your site in light of questions visitors will likely ask including: Where is the church located? Who is the pastor? What should I expect? Will I be singled out as a visitor or pressured in any way? How do I join? Do I have to join? Should I know anything before I arrive? So What? A few Read More …

Future Church – More Collaboration

Church v.2020 - Ten Changes: #10 More Collaboration – Less Competition When compared with the American church of 2012, the future church (v.2020) will feature significantly more collaboration and markedly less competition.  This will occur in many areas, including: An approach to marketing, church growth, and evangelism shaped by abundance rather than scarcity that encourages all people already on a spiritual or religious path to earnestly and faithfully pursue it.  Efforts to reach Read More …

God is Still Speaking – the First Decade

Ron Buford is the lead architect of the United Church of Christ's (UCC) Still Speaking campaign which began in 2002.  He recently accepted a call to serve as Interim Minister for Discipleship at Old South Church in Boston, and authored an article about Still Speaking in the denomination's magazine (Vol. 2, Issue 2 - p.54-56).  In that piece he explores his experiences over the last decade, including his travel to congregations in all but two of the UCC Conferences.  While many forecast continued Read More …

New Church Growth Via Social Media

Out of the Box Worship Center in Hillsville, VA is a non-traditional United Methodist  small town church that is gaining attention for its dramatic social media driven growth. Launched in January 2011 as an extension of First United Methodist Church of Hillsville, VA, the new church start has grown enough to need two services in their 180 seat worship center. So What? Out of the Box's pastor, Ronnie G. Collins, stated, "When the church first started, we placed one full-page ad in the local Read More …

Where Do New Members Come From?

Deborah Bruce and Joelle Anderson recently co-authored an article exploring research about the makeup of new church members.  More specifically, they considered who is joining Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregations.  They report that "in the typical PC(USA) congregation about three in ten worshipers are new people who began attending there in the past five years."  These newcomers can be grouped into four categories: First-timers with no church background.  Only 8% of new people in Read More …

Marketing a Mainline Congregation

Martin Thielen, Senior Pastor of the 7,600-member Brentwood United Methodist Church, wrote the cover story for the July 26 (2011) edition of the Christian Century about his experience marketing his previous parish.  Initially a Southern Baptist, he left that denomination when it took a fundamentalist turn to become a United Methodist pastor. In the article he shares what he learned while Senior Pastor of  Lebanon First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, TN.   During his tenure the Read More …

Full LGBT Equality in the Church

Believe Out Loud is a project of Intersections International that is committed to being a" trans-denominational movement that promotes LGBT-inclusion in the Christian church."  Recently they launched a campaign to get one million Christians to sign on in support of "full LGBT equality in the church."  Sojourners, led by Jim Wallis, rejected their new 83 second ad  (watch below) depicting lesbian moms and their son entering a new church and receiving a welcome from the minister.  Over the last Read More …

Learning from Gen Y: Thoughts of a New Reformation

Bradley N. Hill, a minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, recently wrote an article for the Christian Century suggesting that the way most churches operate (an attractional model) will never effectively engage Generation Y (those he characterizes as being born between 1976 and 2000) for many reasons including: . . . advertisement is just part of the background white noise of our culture. No impersonal website or advertisement, no program or event flyer, poster or radio spot will entice Read More …

The Christmas Story: Creativity + $500 = 400K+ views

On this the second Sunday of Christmas, I invite you to watch one of the best Christmas videos you may not have seen.  The video was created by St. Paul's Church in Auckland, New Zealand to market their annual Carols by Glowstick event.  According to Joshua Cody, who interviewed one of the creative folks behind the project, the church spent only $500 to produce the video since "everything else was supplied by the individuals, families and businesses of St. Paul’s. That goes for the talent, the Read More …