Growing up all over the USA and being involved and committed to numerous churches, I have become increasingly aware of the benefit to having some sort of relationship or at least face-to-face communication with the leaders of the church I attend. In particular, the senior pastor. Unfortunately, at the church I am a part of now, this is not the case. Over the last year and half I have interacted with some of the pastoral staff but not once have I ever been within 10 feet of the senior pastor (my wife and I are not front row kind of people).
I realize this is just as much my problem as anybody else’s, but I don’t like it. The church I attend is rather large and it is easy to fade into the big crowds. This was a blessing at first because my wife and I had just finished helping a church plant for 18 months and we needed some breathing room before diving back into “ministry.” But now, I believe my need for connection is necessary to my health spiritually.
How does this relate to church marketing? I’m glad you asked. If I was a customer, the pastors would be the salesmen. It’s their job to sell me, hook me, and make me want more every week. (Excuse the harsh comparison, I’m going somewhere with this.)
What would happen if you (the church pastor) made it a point to get individual face-time with the people in your church? Not just the people that come to you, but making an effort to go to the people. First-time visitor gatherings with free donuts after service are nice, but not everyone goes to those. How about coming up with a way to identify the people that have attended your church for a couple months but you have not yet met personally?
If you want to be authentic, and do marketing that works, relationship-building is the number one way to go. Nearly every industry in every business will tell you that.
I’m not suggesting scheduling lengthy meetings or making a huge ordeal out of this. I’m simply suggesting intentional connection with people in need of it. Like me. There will be plenty of people you miss in the process, but think of all the people you will reach.