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Ask a Kevin

June 21, 2007 by

If you’ve been around Church Marketing Sucks for a while you probably know the name Kevin D. Hendricks. He’s our chief blogger and the labs director for our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication.

Lately, however, there haven’t been as many original posts from Kevin as he spends more time fixing my mistakes, juggling behind-the-scenes projects and dating his wife (I made that up, but I hope he can find the time). In a previous post, he called out creative thinkers and asked, “Where’s the Church’s ‘Ask A Ninja?‘” Well, I don’t know where it is, or if it is, but I thought it might be time to present an interview with our chief blogger, Ask a Kevin.


If you were on a deserted island, what four blogs would you miss the most?

  • Kottke.org – so much pop culture and techie stuff–it’s a great distraction.
  • Seth Godin – I don’t know why the guy writes books anymore. His blog has smarter stuff than most of his books.
  • My Friends Blogs’ – I can’t pick out just one, but I love keeping up with my friends through their blogs. It’s just fun to know what they’re thinking and doing, whether we’re blocks or states apart.
  • My Own Blog – Is that conceited? Sorry, but I like writing in my own blog. A lot. If I didn’t have somewhere to collect my thoughts like that, it’d drive me nuts.

What is one marketing move in the last few years you would say changed the world?

I feel like such a dork saying this, but web 2.0. I think we’re just beginning to see how it will change the world, but if you look at the daily lives of techie people (early adapters) you’ll see loads of monumental changes. Pictures and video and movies and even genealogies are being rediscovered and enjoyed and shared by people who weren’t doing that 10 years ago.

My mom is 700 miles away, but she follows her grand-daughter’s daily activity through video and photos I post online.

Nonprofits are setting up camp on MySpace and collecting thousands of friends—but not just collecting them, mobilizing them to take action.

Facebook just launched this whole application thing, and folks are sharing movie reviews and recommendations and what music they listen to and all sorts of crazy stuff through plug-in applications. It’s portable information, going to where the people are, and it’s changing people’s habits.

Not sure if that qualifies as a marketing move, but it’s still huge.

Do you think church marketing is any different from business marketing?

Yes, because businesses can be happy with the status quo. I’m sure some marketers will disagree with me, but your standard business doesn’t need to see triple digit growth every year. They need to grow enough to cover turn over and increased costs and all that, but if they’re paying their bills and keeping customers happy, great. Businesses like that don’t have much of an advertising budget (think of the best steak house in your area).

The church on the other hand, should never be sitting back and thinking, ‘Gee, we’ve saved enough people. Our pews our full. We can sit back and relax.’ There’s a fundamental urgency behind church marketing that never goes away. A business can have enough; a church can’t.

What 4 songs are on the EP mixtape of “The Life of Kevin D. Hendricks”?

  • “All Because of You” by U2
  • “Every New Day” by Five Iron Frenzy
  • “One” by U2
  • and how about “You’re with Stupid” by Roper?

If you’re really curious about my musical tastes you can check me out on Last.fm (which would explain why half my mixtape is U2 and gee, isn’t this that web 2.0 thing I was talking about?).

Does your church’s marketing suck?

Yes. A couple years ago I watched helplessly at a church business meeting while our meager communications budget (which consisted of an annual ad in the phone book) was cut. It sucks to see that happen, but you also have to pay bills.

My church has made some great strides recently, especially with the establishment of a volunteer communications team. I’ve tried to contribute where I can, but I’m already pretty overcommitted. I give suggestions where I can and celebrate the small steps forward. I decided a long time ago that I can’t single-handedly make my church’s communication not suck. It takes a group effort and a lot of time.

What do you see five years from now?

More of the same: More urgency. More craziness. More busyness. More cutting edge. Orange is the new Pink is the new Black. Pop culture is kind of nuts that way–I’m not sure we ever learn anything and grow.

But I think people are starting to see that. It’s why causes are cool, why the Emergent Church is happening, why the world is niche-ifying. We’ll maybe take a tiny step closer to that five years from now, but people love their TV. We’ll never grow up.

I want to give away some cash. What three places do you suggest?

Well, I highly recommend supporting CFCC and this blog, but that’s kind of a conflict of interest, huh?

So how about …

What are the next three books on your must-read list?

What is one church marketing mistake you see again and again?

Thinking your church doesn’t do marketing. So often churches don’t put any thought into how they communicate. It’s just not on the radar. And you can’t blame them–it’s all most churches can do to keep going with the onslaught of weekly activities.

But that’s the big mistake–not thinking about how we communicate an event or even general stuff, and in doing so I think we miss out on connecting with more people and fulfilling our mission.

You’re a writer by trade. Can I hire you to write things like love letters to my girlfriend?

If you pay me enough, I’ll write whatever you need. Well, that’s not necessarily true, but yeah, I write all kinds of stuff. I haven’t yet done love letters–and the awkwardness will probably require a premium–but I can do that.

Mostly I help organizations communicate (surprise, surprise: I’m not a pastor and I don’t work in a church office). Often that comes down to writing or editing specific text, but sometimes it’s a bigger picture idea of how something works or doesn’t work and then making that happen. Church Marketing Sucks strikes me as a good example, though I can hardly claim the credit. You can learn more at Monkey Outta Nowhere.

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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One Response to “Ask a Kevin”

  • Exponential07
    June 21, 2007

    Kevin,
    Couldn’t agree with you more about web 2.0. Not only the social aspects of it, but the low cost implementation – ideal for churches and nonprofits with small communications/marketing budgets.



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