Monday, January 7, 2008

Church Marketing

I've been thinking a bit about church marketing. There is quite often criticism of this, but the problem as I see it is not with the existence of church marketing but more to do with its mis-use or even the lack of good marketing.

As I see it, a church that conducts good marketing will have a very clear picture of the neighbourhood in which it is situated, understanding the type of people that live nearby, their interests, their employment types, family types and social status. A church that knows who it is trying to reach will then look at the way it operates and will plan its activities appropriately. I have lived around Western Australia and am aware that it is not a case of simply recognising differences between rural and metropolitan, or between low or medium socio-economic areas. A rural farming town where the population has been relatively stable for decades can be very different from a similar sized town that has been established around mining and the population changes on an annual for even six-monthly basis. A suburban church in a university suburb can be vastly different from a suburban church in an industrial area.

Where the problem with church marketing occurs is when a church has done it's marketing well, and developed a successful approach to ministry, then has effectively packaged its model and sold it on to churches all over the world who think they can implement it wherever they are. So churches take hold of models like Hillsong and Willow Creek and attempt to cut and paste them into their own situation without having first identified if that model actually fits their local needs and demographics. I don't want to criticise Hillsong and Willow Creek, but want to warn churches that try to clone them. They did their marketing and what they did worked for them, but it should not necessarily be assumed that what they did will work anywhere else.

Churches need to do good marketing, not simply purchasing off-the-shelf models that they hope will fit their situation.

No comments: