3 Fundamental Rules of Church Marketing

May 31, 2007 by

Kent Shaffer of Church Relevance, in the February 2007 edition of their newsletter, covered the 3 Fundamental Rules of Church Marketing. Here’s a sampling of what he said, and head on over to read the rest.

Rule 1: Don’t begin with marketing.

First, determine if your church is marketable. Ask yourself if there are things you need to change. Do you have a church that people will want to return to if they come?

Rule 2: Map it out.

Have a starting point, a destination, and a route. Effectively determine the specifics of all three of these.

Rule 3: Cost does not always equal quality.

Just because a medium is expensive does not mean it is effective. Consider your target audience and the cost efficiency of a marketing method before you go ahead with it.

Post By:

Joshua Cody


Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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7 Responses to “3 Fundamental Rules of Church Marketing”

  • Mike Hosey
    May 31, 2007

    I’m not sure I understand Rule #1.
    Don’t begin with marketing. Ask yourself if there are things that you can change. Is your church some place that people would like to return to?
    So in other words, change whatever your doing to make it easier to market, so that whatever you change to can be marketed effectively and people will come?
    Maybe that isn’t “beginning with marketing” but it sure seems to put the target and goals on marketing.
    Perhaps we should begin with the questions: “Is what we’re doing what God wants us to do? Is our church fulfilling its Biblical purpose? What is that purpose? How can our efforts to fulfill that purpose be marketed?


  • mike
    May 31, 2007

    I think #1 is more about making sure what you are doing, you are doing well. If you market about your great nursery, people will come expecting a great nursery. But if your nursery is not clean, well kept or well staffed. People will be put off and won’t want to come back.
    If you are going to market, you need to make sure you know what you are marketing.
    I think this is something some churches struggle with. They want to be up to date with other churches and think marketing will improve them and increase growth. But some churches aren’t ready for that increase of traffic.


  • brad
    May 31, 2007

    Hmm, good point Mike. The ‘don’t to anything until this church is perfect’ mentality isn’t going to cut it. We’ll never do anything, and we deny the daily process of grace working in people’s lives while we’re at it.
    Suddenly we need to ask a deeper question: Should we be marketing ‘church’ at all, or should we each only ever be concentrating on making Christ famous…? Maybe that’s the whole reason that church marketing sucks?


  • Kent
    May 31, 2007

    Mike,
    Rule #1 is referring to the importance of creating a quality church service before trying to advertise and attract new guests. Read the full article, and it should make more sense.
    Since by literal definition marketing covers product, promotion, price, and place, Rule #1 is still technically marketing because it focuses on creating a quality product/service. However, many people tend to only think of the promotional/advertising aspect when they hear “marketing”. In this context, it refers to the typical marketing mindset rather than the literal definition of the word. Sorry for the confusion.
    And as for your questions of calling, purpose, and fulfilling that purpose, read Rule #2 from the full article. It covers that.
    – Kent


  • Drew
    June 2, 2007

    for those of you who are living in a bubble and dont understand 1.
    There are churches where the church is made up of “christians” who don’t much act like christians, and their actions are pushing the few people who come to the church away from it.
    The elders at this point should be focusing on fixing their church problems, and fixing that. 2nd attracting people to a church where the worship is boring and more traditional, no matter how much you advertise people aren’t gonna want to stick around.
    Stuff like this is what you need to before advertising. A church I know went from 100 to over 600 in 4 years from word of mouth. And all they did is make worship modern.
    There are churches who dont do that and market and don’t grow.


  • mypond
    June 2, 2007

    To me, Rule 1 simply means look at the inside before you tell the outside. Ask “are we a church that exists mainly for ourselves or for our community?” If you can’t answer with the latter, then your church is neither being what God wants it to be nor is it marketable.


  • Jeanx
    June 6, 2007

    If you’re pretty successful with your graphics for promoting your church,you may want to check out this contest:
    http://www.outreach.com/print/articlef.asp?article_name=p-contestdetails07&sid=4664A7804FB6617F
    It’s a good way to showcase your creativity – and help other churches, too!
    It’s a contest for the most effective designs for church outreach campaigns. You can enter 3 designs in 3 areas (9 in all, I guess): new church launch, special event invitation, or sermon series promo. Prizes look pretty good, too – but more importantly, you’re passing along your good designs to give others inspiration and good ideas!
    Can you pass the word along to other church graphic designers?



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