Our Don’t Suck List Sucks

October 17, 2005 by

Our Don't Suck List SucksWe’ve come to the conclusion that our ‘Don’t Suck’ list actually sucks. The goal was to list companies, organizations and resources that could help your church not suck. In reality that’s not as easy as it sounds.

So the ‘Don’t Suck’ list is taking a break. We’ll keep the old one around, but instead of keeping it up to date we’re going to focus on coming up with a new list. One that’s better, faster, stronger.


The old list started out as a good idea, but it just couldn’t keep up:

  • First, we have to decide who makes the cut and who doesn’t. And who are we to decide that? We’re not trying to be self-appointed arbitrators of cool.
  • Then we tried to pair down the list by restricting it to companies that work exclusively with churches. It seemed like a good idea: There are literally thousands of companies that are willing to work with churches but don’t work exclusively with churches, and we can’t list them all. But that sends the message that only church-focused companies can help your church, and that’s not true. That approach encourages a ghetto mentality and actually penalizes companies that have a healthy balance of church and non-church clients.
  • It’s a lot of work. Well, adding a single item to the list isn’t a big deal, but it becomes a problem when you get a half a dozen e-mails per week asking to be added to the list. And our big idea of profiling every company on the list? Yeah, that didn’t go so well.

So we’re acknowledging that the old list sucks and rather than keep working on it, we’re going to build something new. We’ve got some great ideas for it, including letting companies submit themselves and offer their own write-up, and balancing that by letting the public offer their perspective on each company.

We think it’s a great idea anyway. But who are we? If you’ve got a good idea for improving the Don’t Suck list, we’d love to hear it—comment away.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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23 Responses to “Our Don’t Suck List Sucks”

  • Michael
    October 17, 2005

    While I love the don’t sucks list as it is a proud badge I wear (and brings a nice bit of traffic) I understand how hard it must be to keep up.
    Have you taken a look at creative latitude? They have a listing that you might take a look at.
    Ya might even think about offering it as a service.
    Keep up the good work!


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  • Kenny (blaqenedwyte blog)
    October 17, 2005

    As someone who fits into the category of “works with churches, but not exclusively with churches” I find the potential change encouraging – that I might be able to submit a listing of my own.


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  • brand1m
    October 17, 2005

    I think that if you allow companies to submit themselves, or allow companies that don’t work exclusively with churches, it will become “The list I don’t care about reading” list.
    EVERY company either does work, or will work with churches or ministries. I think letting people submit their own, will allow a place for the two-bit hacks to share their wares, of which we need not. I understand the time involved is probably substantial, but I’d rather see the idea die completely than to see these two options take place.
    I like reading about companies that work only with churches. If I just want to read about companies that make great designs and ads, there are quite a few places to find that on the net.


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  • Michael
    October 18, 2005

    I like the idea. It’s not enough to talk about how church marketing sucks…we have to do something about it. The first step is finding someone who can help you communicate effectively and this list can help.
    One idea is to have someone, much like a guest blogger, take this part for you. That person(s) can weed them out and send you a list ever x and then you just have to post them and link them.
    Not sure it’s a deal killer that someone works with churches and businesses as long as their primary focus is in helping churches while the corporations work helps you to do that…


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  • kevin
    October 18, 2005

    Thanks for your input.
    brand1m, the idea of letting the public offer their perspective is that the two-bit hacks that want to be listed would get quite a bit of negative feedback. So ideally it would be pretty clear that they’re not doing something right.
    And hopefully if a company wanted to be on the list they would have a strong desire to work with churches, so it wouldn’t just be a list of mainstream design companies. I know there are a lot of places to read about good marketing companies, but I’m not aware of any such places that focus on companies willing to work with the church.
    Michael, we’ve certainly considered trying to pull someone else in to handle the Don’t Suck list, but we still have the problem of how do we sort out which companies are good and which aren’t? It’s a fairly subjective decision, hampered by the fact that we don’t have a lot to judge on (unless we asked every company to send samples, which is even more time-consuming and still fraught with problems).
    As you can see, there isn’t a simple answer to all this. But we do appreciate your thoughts and feedback as we try to figure it out.


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  • Michael
    October 18, 2005

    I think your best bet Kevin is to just send everyone to me as I continue on my quest to rule to the world of church marketing. :)


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  • brand1m
    October 18, 2005

    Kev – I understand what you are saying, I just have seen, on other church related business sites, how they get bombarded with these people, and I don’t want to see it happen here. Maybe I’m being paranoid, or an idiot, either one, wouldn’t be a first, but it just doesn’t seem like a good approach to me.
    What about this, what if we were allowed to submit found companies, and it required a certain number of nominations from different users in order for them to pass muster? I think if you did that, it would also be wise for the nominations to come from active members of this site, not someone who joins under 5 different aliases to promote themselves. Under this system, the sorting would be done by the users, you would just relay the information. If I wanted to submit Billy Joe’s House of Graphixx but I was the only one, then it probably isn’t that great. If however, you get that same suggestion from a few other members, it probably has some merit.
    Like Michael, I’d be happy to help with sorting if needed.


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  • Tim Bednar
    October 24, 2005

    You should read this article called Got Wool? on church web sites…
    http://sonspring.com/journal/fleecing-the-church


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  • James
    October 26, 2005

    My church website sucks! It makes Jesus look like just another “product”. Incidentally, the website is run by one of the companies on your “Don’t Suck” list. Various ministries in the church look like menu items at McDonald’s. And honestly, my church is starting to feel like McDonald’s, consistently mediocre, no surprises here.
    What we really need is not better advertising, but a revival of the Holy Spirit, and this is not something we mere men can manufacture with all of our fancy technology. We need to get on our knees and repent of trying to fake in the flesh what only God can do. I think it was Leonard Ravenhill who said, “you don’t need to advertise a fire!”
    Why don’t you add this to your “Don’t Suck” list?
    Leonard Ravenhill – The Price of Revival
    http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=4240


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  • Joseph
    October 29, 2005

    Why don’t you set up a wiki and establish a group of moderators to police the wiki to make sure there are no “bad” posts.


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  • brand1m
    October 29, 2005

    Mr. Ravenhill is right, you don’t need to advertise a fire. Every fireman within seeing distance will show up. Everyone else will stay out of the way.
    Your church site may suck because of your church, or more specifically, the people that worked the project from your side and not the company involved. Clients mess up projects all the time, and there’s not much a company can do when a client insists on doing something bad.
    I think you are looking at this as an either/or situation here, and thats really not it. More than a few people on this site, view advertising, marketing, or whatever other secular word you want to attach, as evangelism or outreach. God calls us to reach out to the world, and this is part of doing that. If you, or Mr. Ravenhill take issue with outreach, thats between you and God.


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  • Ryan
    February 2, 2006

    I have just stumbled unto your site while doing some standard marketing research. When I saw the content and views that were being expressed on this site I was ecstatic. The opinions expressed on this site are exactly the type of problems I run into on a daily basis. I work as a Marketing Executive, for a software developing company called Elexio that specializes in content management solutions for church websites.
    While I looked around your site I came across your “Don’t suck list,” and was wondering how to become a part of it. After further review I realized, that many of our competitors are currently a part of this list and was curious to see what your criteria for placement to the “Don’t suck list” involved.


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  • SeedStudios
    May 17, 2006

    We have been on the leading edge of church marketing for many years. We have worked with notable chruches like Fellowship Church in Grapevine and many others. We have had serious success with our creative marketing approaches that focus on identity.


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  • darren
    September 1, 2006

    Amazon.com is the clear leader is world of online sales. WHY? Because they use peoples feedback. Its a good idea to harness the thoughts and feedback of users. You may want to provide a ranking system so a church can easily find what everyone else rates as the best.
    -darren


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  • brad
    September 19, 2006

    I came to this particular page looking for a list of resources that could be integrated into church marketing. I’m disappointed that the effort is being put into a list of companies/organisations at all.
    IMO, it would be far more effective to empower and mobilize those on the front lines, instead of actively trying to hand off responsibility to a third party. (Who knows a church better than itself…?)
    Resources, tools, tips and tricks, peer review, best case analyses, that would help more in the “not sucking” department. The effect will be wider than those few who can afford to throw dollars at the problem.


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  • Kevin D. Hendricks
    September 20, 2006

    All of which is why the don’t suck list sucks, brad. We’re working on a new way to do it, we just haven’t had the time, energy or resources to put it together yet. But we are working on it.


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  • brad
    September 22, 2006

    I totally understand. It’s great to hear that that’s your direction! :-)


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  • ADeanH
    November 26, 2006

    Why not just publish a list of guidelines to look for in choosing marketing companies that don’t suck? That way you avoid the issue of policing and updating a list. You will be empowering people with good knowledge instead of just feeding them companies.


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  • michael kern
    March 10, 2008

    As a company that works exclusively with churches on their identity/church logo design, Church Logo Gallery would love to be on the list. Might 2008 be the year?


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  • Andy Lampard
    May 4, 2008

    “Houston, we have problem” Is this discussion is going to reach its 3rd anniversary with out a conclusion! Surely that ‘sucks’!?
    Please make a decision. Archie Norman (former CEO of Asda – the UK part of Wal-Mart) once helpful said ” I make a decision, but when circumstances change I will change that decision”, or something similar.
    Please, please make a decision , otherwise this runs the risk of undermining all the other brilliant work you guys are doing, How wants to take advice from an organisation who APPEARS to be indecisive?
    P.S. I’ve just noticed the word I need to type in the box below to post this entry … “Frustrate”. How apt! … maybe even ‘a word from God’?!


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  • vince
    May 9, 2008

    Our team at sermonview has only one goal. To help churches with communication resources that are customized for their local church, without charging custom prices. We have been wanting to get on the list for a while, because we find your topics and our core mission to be so tightly integrated. Let us know how we can help.


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  • Sarah J
    September 30, 2008

    Friendly note on grammar: One does not “pair” down a list; one “pares” down a list.


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  • Brian
    November 17, 2009

    To the guy from Elexio. They really need to make a “really sucks” list for your company. What a ripoff!


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