Earlier this year, I got an email from Pastor Robin Bailey, a Church Marketing Sucks participator and big fan of churches that get communication and marketing right. (You may remember Robin from an earlier entry.) The email I received was an invitation to dinner as he and a handful of other pastors from Canada were coming to Los Angeles (where I live) on assignment.
Because it is hard for me to turn down a free meal–I agreed–and met up with them last night in downtown LA.
I was blown away by the authenticity of these pastors, and their insights and inspiration were equally encouraging. I really love hanging with pastors that understand what it means to live out their vocation on the other side of a pulpit. These guys get it.
Say hello to Albert Chu (the Asian thinker who within two weeks of attending his church, you’ll be invited to his house for dinner with him and his wife), Robin Bailey (the church plant in progress who has his purpose set on one of the fastest growing communities in their region), John Van Sloten (the resident funny man who has the ugliest web site–says it’s being re-designed–and reports that he did a mailer of 5,000 to his community which resulted in 120 people showing up to their opening service seven years ago), and Phil Reinders (the quieter conservative you know has ten times more in his head than he’s letting you in on). These four were part of a group of seven, here in Los Angeles on a grant from the Lily Foundation.
They were here for six days presenting an interesting approach to ministry to some great thinking minds here in town. Their premise is simple: God speaks through the Bible and God speaks through creation. We’ve been preaching the first book, but for the most part, we’re missing the latter. Instead of using movies, television, music, and other media to be supplements to our preaching, these pastors suggest God is speaking through these mediums (creation). In turn, we should exegete truths in light of the Bible so as to understand the Truth. This is not using film clips and sound bytes to enhance a sermon. It is using them to pursue Truth.
While I’m not going to get into the arguments for or against this approach (to keep the purpose of this blog intact), I am encouraged by their study. I anticipate we’ll be seeing more of these guys and hearing their thoughts as they develop. I understand they may even be working on plans for a book.
A few takeaways (and good reminders) from our conversation last night as it relates to church marketing:
- Pastors (who can write) should be using blogs to build a relationship with their congregation.
- Web sites are important to churches so that people can get to know and stay in the know.
- Consistent and repetitive marketing is better than one-time splashes.
- More time should be spent on tracking and finding what works than assuming what does or doesn’t work.
- Getting local media/press coverage (positive and not always positive) can bring legitimacy and awareness to current and potential church attenders.
- Larger crowds beget larger crowds. Whether you start a church or a ministry in the church, build in come critical mass from the beginning so that more will get on board and return next time.
If you’re ever near these guys’ church, look them up. Their approach is genuine and their personalities are authentic.
Thanks for the invite Robin. You’ve got some great men of God in your corner!