Pastoral Director of Design & Marketing

April 19, 2005 by

For quite some time now I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of the church in terms of the makeup of its staff and personnel. More specifically, I’d like to predict two positions that do not exist now, but within the next 5-10 years, will exist in every church of affordable size.

Say hello to the:

  • Pastoral Director of Design & Marketing
  • Pastor of Philosophy & Ethics

The second position is another post for another day (perhaps another blog). The first position is where I focus my attention and begin to get real jazzed about the potential.

It seems I am not alone in my thinking. Kevin posted an interview yesterday with church creative director, Ryan Hartsock, from Four Corners Community Church. On March 8, Micheal Felker made a comment on his blog about a conversation he had with a “ministry buddy” of his. “Mark my words, the next ministry position will be a person with a design degree whose job it is to advertise.” I’m sure there are many others who could opine on this topic.

In order to communicate with their communities and capture the eyes and ears of all generations, churches must make this position a priority. The culture is demanding it. In a world that continually seeks to engage and enrage our senses, the church can be the leaders in excellent communication and marketing practices.

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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14 Responses to “Pastoral Director of Design & Marketing”

  • Robin
    April 19, 2005

    Agreed wholeheartedly Brad! It was the first position we filled other than myself as church planter, albeit volunteer for now. The first big chunk of money we paid was for our website design when starting this new church the Annex (www.the-annex.ca) I truly appreciate your work on this site to Frustrate. Educate. Motivate.


  • Aaron Alexander
    April 19, 2005

    Funny that you write this. I am currently a youth pastor at a large church in Dallas. But my position on staff has evolved into Pastor of Creative Arts and Design, as I am beginning Art School in the summer to focus on Design and Marketing.
    I agree with you – this job is on the rise, and I’m happy to be a part of it today.


  • tim
    April 21, 2005

    Glad you mentioned the second one. Another name might be Pastor of Thought and Culture. The position is clearly needed. I imagine the position would involve helping the congregation think about (among other things) the current issues of the day in several ways: teaching classes, producing e-newsletters, writing a blog, hosting conferences, moderating symposia, formulating church policy, etc. Members can then have someone who can act as a bridge to academic and popular culture. The possibilities are endless.


  • Jeff Hamilton
    April 21, 2005

    As the Lead Pastor of a church, I feel my functionas well as my giftings and passions would be better described as “the Pastor of ‘Brand.'” I oversee how we are presented to the public whether it’s speaking on Sun AM or the website design and content….I think…uh, oh…Brad, Kevin, maybe a post is coming…


  • brand1m
    April 21, 2005

    A few years ago, when I left youth ministry and started down this design/marketing road, a buddy of mine that travels the U.S. as an evangelist said basically this same thing to me. He said that he believed that this type of person would be to the 2000’s what the music minister was to the late 80s and early 90s. That is, the position that everyone is looking to fill and the large churches will put great resources into making this area work. Whether it plays out that way–well I guess we will have to wait and see.
    Its exciting to see this growing and fun to be on the front end of this movement. I think a few other titles that might work their way in could be: Creative Director or Multimedia Pastor.


  • Keith Locke
    April 21, 2005

    Wow… this is a ‘thick’ subject. I am new to the site, but old in the industry. I have served in the role of Brand Manager for a few different churches simultaneously, one local and a few long distance. I currently serve as Creative Director at Outreach, Inc. (Outreach.com).
    I must say, I am struck (and stuck) by this subject. I believe what is being said here, about that position emerging and finding its own among the staff of churches who can afford. I also think that a solid communication philosophy and strategy is necessary, but more like a form of insurance against poor communication which has plagued the American church for some time.
    And yet… I am convinced of the truth that the world will know we are Christians by our love for one another, not by our communication skills. This is such a tough balance to strike. Speak well. And love well. Love IS the ‘killer app’ to be sure.
    There are days that I feel that I am trying to cover up the ‘foolishness’ of preaching with the finesse of well fashioned visual and verbal. I know that is not the motive, yet in practice I have to stop myself from time to time to make sure.
    Al Ries has an interesting take in the Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR… and I do think it applies well to the church.
    Advertising is like the wind and PR is like the sun. The harder the wind blows, the more resistant people are. But when the sun comes out… well… to say the least, it is the best of the two scenarios.
    I feel like the church has begin to blow alot of wind in this area of marketing and brand. When they need to be ‘the sun’ and work the relationships first and foremost. If the church will be the church first, that network of relationships that breathes and breeds genuine love, then ‘the wind’ (marketing, brand, etc.,) can merely reinforce the positive vibe/buzz created by the warming effect of relationship.
    I would like to see the day where the ‘produce’ (fruit) outweighs product (marketing) in this Americanized christendom.
    Or maybe I’ve just had too much carbonation and need to switch back to water. Thanks for raising the dialogue. We all need it.


    • Yvette
      August 4, 2010

      I am a creative director who recently resigned my corporate gig of over 12 years. I have felt a calling for years that I need to use my God-given talents for Him. I am a member of a large church who has an extensive fine arts department, but they do not need my services st this time. They have lots of folks working on the Web site, flyers, in-service comms, etc. I have a very small ministry of my own that serves my Sunday school, but I would really like to do more. Any thoughts?


  • Anthony
    April 22, 2005

    I have heard that in the state of Tennessee – the only qualification that a person needs to be called a “Pastor” is to be one who “cares for souls”. Based on that definition, I can see a person easily sliding into the role of Pastoral Director of Design and Marketing. This sounds very much like a paid staff position and I imagine that most churches may not have the funds or see the need initially for such a position. I am a volunteer with a newly created marketing department at our church. Previously and currently, a lot of the marketing/public relations functions are spread out to different people — which creates the potential for a “many cooks ruin the stew” scenario. I am CERTAIN that it is invaluable to have a person and/or a dedicated team of people in the “inner circle” of a church who have a “pastor’s heart” and the Pastor’s ear – who can help present the Vision of the church to the congregation and to the public. Again, the message is ETERNAL, but the method of delivery must be as current as tomorrow.


  • Michael
    April 25, 2005

    I’ve been talking this talk for about 2 or so years now…my pastor friend (worship pastor) says I’m ahead of my time and that while he thinks it will be needed ‘someday’ the church isn’t ready for it.
    It’s frustrating sometimes. I believe in that what we do is a function of ministry, so many see it as a function of administration.
    ie. The phones have to be answered so that a pastor can talk to them is to the website has to be up so people know when to come to church.
    I even find myself asking is this really ministry, could I really be called to such a thing. Of course I’m using the word calling in the way we would refer to it for a youth pastor, etc. A pipefitter can very well be called to be a pipefitter….hope I’m clear….
    I guess the real question is how do I get others to feel the passion I do?
    ………mb


  • monkeyboy
    April 28, 2005

    I would think that there might be enough people like myself who are on staff at a church as the Creative Director or a similar category that it might be beneficial to schedule something where we could all get together outside of our areas of ministry and begin to talk through the whole idea of communicating and presenting the gospel through our respective lenses. I know for me that i often feel like an island when it comes to doing what i do and feel there could be some definite benefits to networking with similar people when it comes to resources and such. If there is anyone else out there who might be interested in puting something together i’d love to begin putting it together…also if anyone has some suggestions on some things that are already happening that might be a good resource I’m open to it. I am planning on attending some secular based conferences such as the HOW conferece in Chicago, but feel that there might be more benefit in getting together with people that share a similar vision for communicating the truth of the Gospel…
    Just my thoughts!


  • JR
    May 4, 2005

    Good call on position of the future! I came from a design consulting background as well and have now turned to fulltime ministry which I thought was going to be a harder transition, but seeing as how the church needed this type of paradigm shift as well I am pressing on to give our church/community the presence it needs. I am not going for the slick-back-carsalesmen-agency look, but something that matches the character/style/personality of the this church.

    My purpose for writing is that I really got started doing what I do within the church from looking at Westwinds Church and seeing that it can be done, thanks Rachael Cook! Before I took the position at the church I am working at, I contacted Rachael and asked her questions that would give me an idea of what to expect, what to do, how to get started, etc…


  • fernando
    May 9, 2005

    I recall being laughed at in a deacon’s meeting in 1995 for trying to raise this sort of thing in a leadership structure “brainstorming session.” At the time I was in a large multistaff church on the verge of calling it’s first worship and creative ministries pastor (I was youth pastor).
    At the time my wife, who is a marketing professional, was doing her MBA and a frequent topic of conversation in our home was the way image and media would be the next hurdle for churches as has been mentioned, encultured music was a hurdle in the 60s-80s.
    However, the idea was not warmly recieved then, nor in subsequent churches I have been involved with. In fact, when any role like that does come, it only seems to be in relation to fundraising for building programmes.


  • Matthew
    February 28, 2008

    I think you might be a little behind the curve introducing the title, Director of Design & Marketing. I am also a little reluctant to throw the word “pastor” or “pastoral” in front of it. Western churches are already well on their way to reaching the standards of today’s I-Pod generation through media and other means of design and marketing. The title already mainstream in todays mega and large churches. We want to be careful. A good question to ask, can the church over market? Is it possible that over marketing the church will have a negative kickback. Today’s postmodern culture is not looking for a church franchise, or are they?
    Pastor of Philosophy & Ethics – Again, want to know why we are placing the Pastor title in front of it. Personally, I don’t see this title coming anytime soon, at least to the western church. I like the thought.


  • Gene Mason
    February 28, 2008

    Keith,
    You are right on target here. We are totally Americanizing the church and have marketed our way to high warm-body counts ahead of real fruit. It may be the wave of the future to call a marketer a Pastor, but my question has always been, “Does Christ really show us in Scripture to grow His church in this way?”
    I think in 10 years, the remnant of the church is that will be left here in North America is going to be embarrassed at running off on this tangent looking for fool’s gold.



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