Archive for the 'Marketing' Category

Guest Bloggers Wanted…

I know that a lot of you who read this blog have some great ideas of your own!  If you have been reading the Christian Leadership blog for a while and have something burning inside you that you think would be great to share with our readers. Send me an e-mail (burl@burlwalker.com) with your post of less than 500 words. (As you can see from my posts, people who want pages of text tend to read another blog.) If it is something that I think the readers would appreciate, I will happily post it with full credit given to you. Feel free to include a link to your own blog or webpage if you have one. If possible, this could become a once a week feature. Thanks in advance!

What does your sermon title/church name say about your church?

I was reading a blog post by Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing, and he was talking about the importance of book titles. To quote him exactly: “Great titles are PINC (pronounced “pink”). They do at least one of the following: make a promise, create intrigue, identify a need, or simply state the content.” As church leaders, shouldn’t the name of your church and your sermon titles also do one of these things or more? Just as people often buy a book based on the title and cover, people will decide a lot about your church based on the name and the sermon titles out on your church’s sign/marquis. Do the things that are out in the community defining your church to the public making a promise? creating intrigue? identifying a need? or telling about the content people will find in your church? …Or are they just vague references that only the “churched insider club” will understand?

News about HIM spread quickly!

In Mark 1:28, we see the following about Jesus -  “News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.” How does that happen? News doesn’t spread unless it is put out there. This verse got me thinking about the church. Is your church one about which news spreads all over your whole region? Or is your church one that people don’t even know is there? Size of the church isn’t the issue. If you are part of a church of 25 or a church of 25,000 there is something to tell people about. Since the church of 25,000 probably already has a decent promotional effort going on, I shall endeavor to target the smaller church today. If you are sitting there thinking, (((My church doesn’t have any news worth spreading all over our region))), then either you are right, and your church should just shut down and sell or give away the building…or you are wrong. Here are some ideas for press releases or even guest writing for a local paper/blog/news radio show/tv news.

  • Highlight a guest speaker
  • Neighborhood dinner party
  • Hosting a church festival
  • Ground breaking ceremony…for anything! (New swing set in the children’s play area?)
  • Even a new sermon series dealing with life applicable issues. (Marriage, Money Management, Recovery…)

I hope this helps you get the news out there about your church. Not so that you will be famous, but so that the news of JESUS will be spread all over your region!

Are you ready to go the extra mile?

Before you can go the extra mile, you first must know what the first mile is. Do you know what the vision is that God has given you for your ministry? Can you see it? Taste it? Recognize it when you see it? If someone else offers to help, can you tell whether their “help” fits into the vision plan for the ministry God has placed you in charge of?  If you do know the vision, are you willing to go beyond just trying to create adequacy? To be a great leader, are you ready to make sure that the bathrooms are sparkling clean? Are you asking the right questions to find out what would make things run more smoothly? At the core, we must constantly be in prayer before God to know what HIS vision is for the ministry he lets us work with. To quote Dave Ramsey, “We must pray like it all depends on God, and work like it all depends on us.” It does depend completely on God, yet we must be willing to do all that we can to do our part to create an environment in which success can happen.  When our church or ministry gives people MORE than what they expect, then they will be much more open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that can really change their life!

Zoecity.com

Today, I am stepping out of my box. I want to recommend a new website to you.  Zoecity.com is a new site that combs through thousands of articles and posts the top shared articles first. The theory behind this is that if you share an article with your friends and family, then it is something you cared enough about not only to read, but to pass on. Zoe.com tracks these “shares” and the article that has been shared the most times ends up at the top of the list. At the moment, the list is still small, but I am sure with time that this start-up web article ranking page will become to Christian leaders what Drudgereport.com is to conservatives and news junkies.

Since the blog world seems worried about blogging about things without disclosing whether they have recieved something in exchange for blogging about a product, I want to freely admit that Zoecity.com gave me access to their site the same way that you have it…I linked off a blogpost I read. http://michaelhyatt.com/ actually.

Change

Talked with a lady yesterday who owns an antique store in Asheville, NC. I asked her about her business mostly because there isn’t a single wall in my house that doesn’t have a piece of furniture in front of it and the thought has crossed my mind to dabble in the used furniture/antiques business. She shared that in the “hayday” of the 80′s, anything that was over 10 years old would sell. Then along came ebay and changed the landscape of the business. Suddenly, instead of searching for months to find just the right piece, people could look it up and have half a dozen examples of the piece they are looking for. When I asked her if she has adapted her business to the changes in the market, her answer surprised me. She said that she had…but then her explaination of how she had changes was that she is now in less locations. She downsized her operation. There are still plenty of people out there who don’t use a computer or the internet, or are scared to make purchases over the web…so she can probably stay in business for a few more years doing things the way she has always done it.

Are we as a church reaching out in new ways to meet people by engaging the new culture we meet today, or are we downsizing to find those who are still being marketed to in the old ways? Jesus Christ is still the most incredible and powerful “product” ever marketed. HE does all the work of changing people’s lives! All HE asks us to do is introduce people to Him! How are we making those introductions? Is it in a way that is going to make people want to meet Jesus, or will they think, “With an intro like that, I hope He never comes near me.”?  Think about it.

God or Hype?

As a church leader, what are you shooting for? Do you want God? Or do you want Hype? Those who have been around the church world for a short time will soon recognize that there are pastors and leaders who are so full of God’s Holy Spirit that it is part of their DNA. God oozes from their pores! Then there are those who are full of Hype. They have lots of energy and do really cool stuff and get crowds excited, but that is where it ends. Our God changes lives! If there is no fruit evidence that He is working in people’s lives, then we can conclude that He isn’t working in their life. God changes people! Does that mean that all Christians change and grow equally…of course not. It does mean however that if someone is mean as a snake, but they claim to have been saved 20 years ago, then they probably don’t understand that being “saved” isn’t just a get out of hell free card; it means that God has control of your life and He WILL change it if He is truly given control. If you are a leader and questioning this post…good. I am too. Am I full of God, or full of Hype? I pray that everything I do will be full of God, directed by His Holy Spirit, and done for HIS glory! When pride gets in the way, it is easly to be full of Hype though. Especially when things are going well! Take inventory of yourself and your ministry. The good news is, if you find you and it are full of Hype rather than being full of God, HE is willing and able to help you change that! Just ask HIM!

Permission Marketing and the Church

How do we integrate great ideas like permission marketing into the church. First, what is permission marketing. I don’t claim to be the expert on the subject. (For expert, click here) Basically though, permission marketing says that we must earn a person’s trust before marketing a product to them. The days of just blaring out a message through television, radio and print media are waning quickly. In the church, this seems to be doubly true. Just standing on the street corner shouting to random people that they are going to hell is unlikely to cause sinners to fall in love with Jesus. (There are times for confrontational evangelism, but that is another post all together.) Most of the time, a person is brought to the Lord because a believer showed interest in them as a person first. Once we care about the person and they realize that we are there for them whether or not they accept our “product” then they are much more willing to listen. Jesus as our example in this style of witnessing, He met with sinners in their homes. He cared about us enough to die on the cross for us even before we decided to accept Him as our savior. (Not jumping into the predestination argument here.) He cared about us…we must care about others first! That way, we earn the right to share with them the greatest product endorsement ever!

Twitter/facebook/blog etc. for your ministry

Pastors and Lay leaders, do you use technology for your ministry? If you are reading this, then you at very least read some blogs for ideas to help you out or to get encouragement from. How about social networking? Do you use Myspace, Facebook, Twitter…? What good are these mediums? Part of the answer to that question lies in the target demographic of your ministry. If the average person in your congregation and in the group you are attempting to reach still jumps on a chair when someone refers to a “mouse” then there is probably little gain to be achieved from using any web based social networking…stick to the potluck dinners. However, if you are a leader in a church with a slightly more computer literate society in mind, then you might be wondering how you can make this work.

WARNING! Social networking online cannot replace social networking in real life! You must still meet people in person where they are in the air breathing part of the planet.

That said, it can be a great tool for keeping up with your people. Many pastors find great success in blogging to let the people in their congregation know what is on their hearts and minds. Parishioners appreciate this very open and transparent view into their pastor’s heart. Sites like Facebook, which have traditionally been great for youth pastors or pastors of churches with a very young demographic is now fair game for anyone pastoring or leading any age ministry. A good many of my “facebook friends” are people I know in real life who are in their 60′s and 70′s. The fastest growing group of users for facebook and twitter is in the over 35 group.

There is no perfect way to use the site. It can be used as much or as little as you and your staff have time for. Facebook can be a great way to send out notices of upcoming events! It is sort of like micro-permission marketing in that anyone receiving the invite is someone who has chosen to be your “friend”. Have fun and experiment with the different tools that are out there. Having a power driver doesn’t mean you throw away all your screwdrivers, it just gives you another option. In the same way, using Facebook, Myspace or Twitter, shouldn’t replace your traditional networking skills, but should be used to enhance them. Have fun!

Extension Campus Churches

While I have read about churches with multiple campuses, this morning, my wife and I had our first experience with going to one. We decided to visit NewSpring Church‘s Greenville, SC campus. It meets in a convention center ballroom near the airport. Not exactly a residential neighborhood, nor is it super easy to find. With printed yahoo maps directions in hand, we ventured the trip. After missing an exit, and then turning the wrong direction on a road, we finally got there to find smiling faces and a very professional church! The music was done with excellence! The campus pastor, Howard Fritz, did a great job with intro and explaining with a mini lesson the importance of the tithe and offering. When the message time came, there were three large screens in the front with the message being projected that Perry Noble of the Anderson Campus was preaching. I had really wondered on my way there if this was going to be like getting together with a bunch of people to watch a sermon on someone’s bigscreen TV. But somehow, it wasn’t. For one thing, Pastor Noble did a great job of being aware of the other campuses. Having been to the Anderson Campus before, I had noticed that they often were giving directions to the other campuses, and it seemed a little odd…but then being on one of those “other” campuses, it suddenly made sense! At the altar call, I am not sure how many people stood to get saved, but it was at least 18! Then in a baptism service immediately following, there were about 80 people who got baptized! Those are the numbers that really mean something! I really don’t know how many were in attendance, but my first experience with an extension campus church was definitely a positive one. And, as a first time visitor in a large church where it would be easy to get lost in the crowd, someone invited my wife and I out to eat lunch with them! We accepted and had a great time over burgers at 5 Guys Burger getting to hang out with some great people! (If you are reading this Jason, Mary or John, thanks for making it a great day!) I learned that getting together with a bunch of people to watch TV can be a life altering experience for many. Keep up the great work  NewSpring Greenville!