Old and Boring with a Big Future

September 16, 2004 by

I just spent the last hour on a conference call with a development team I am a part of for a ministry organization that has been around over 125 years. For the last several years, they have been trying to find, focus, and forecast a future that is contextualized within a past that is perhaps bigger than any other movement among young people I am aware of.

How does an organization so old, with a history so rich, position itself to last another 125 years? What can a terrific past teach us that would not otherwise be learned as we grow our churches?

The past smells while the future is odorless. Looking back helps as you look ahead but looking ahead while looking back can be costly.

After being around for so long, the tendency to think that marketing will work itself out is natural. After all, the longer you exist, the more people that know you, the more people will “buy” into you, right?

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. Anybody remember Montgomery Ward? If your church has been on the same corner for the last 50 years, don’t assume everybody in the neighborhood is aware of your church, not to mention what you’re all about.

What would it look like if older churches promoted/marketed themselves as vibrant, thriving, healthy churches with a passion for God and a zest for seeking and connecting community? What if the history of the church came through in the rich stories of the people that make up the church and not etched in nameplates, smelly pews, and fall-asleep preaching?

Maybe history was meant to be discovered. Not treasured.

Post By:

Brad Abare


Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it. He and his wife Jamaica live in Los Angeles with their daughter, Miró.
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One Response to “Old and Boring with a Big Future”

  • The Fireant Gazette
    September 17, 2004

    Church Marketing Blog

    The same distractions that have kept me from blogging regularly also served to make me forget to plug a new (to me) blog with a name that’s going to get me in trouble with at least one reader: “Church Marketing…



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