A few months ago I clipped an article from NRB Magazine, the self-proclaimed “premiere magazine of the Christian communications industry.” (Is it just me or does that statement sound like an oxymoron?) Erik Ticen was a guest columnist for the April 2005 issue of NRB Magazine and is currently the director of communications for The Tabernacle in Orchard Park, N.Y.
It is unfortunate that I cannot link to this half-page column titled “Survival of the Different: The Church Brand.” I tried digging through the archives and current issues from “the premiere magazine of the Christian communications industry,” but couldn’t find it. Not only did the article have a few good points, it had a lot of bad ones as well.
Study your pastor. The most effective churches have a personality reflective of their leader. My pastor is a missionary at heart, therefore world consciousness and personal outreach is emphasized. This doesn’t mean we neglect other aspects of church life, but it does communicate to the community our congregation the DNA of who we are.”
Sorry Erik, the last thing you want to do is build a church brand around the personality of the pastor. I blogged about this before. I’ve also been reading Good to Great by Jim Collins, and he has a lot to say on this very subject, especially when you read his thoughts on “Level 5 Leaders” and his principle of “First Who… Then What.” Collins says it’s not about the celebrity or vision of the leader. It is about getting the right people on the bus and then figuring out where to go.
I can only imagine what happens when churches are not limited to one leader but instead driven by a collective conglomerate of creative partnership determined to reach more people for Christ.
Oh wait, that is happening all around the country! From church plants to mega-churches, the budding brands are because the right people are on the bus. Why haven’t you heard of these success stories? Because the very nature of these churches are about the longevity of the journey and not the popularity of the person in the pulpit.
To be fair to Erik, he did have a good point about the fact that it takes time to build brands. Endurance is such a key part of any branding strategy.
As far as NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) goes… don’t get me started.