Dawn Nicole Baldwin is the founder of the marketing agency AspireOne and a senior partner with the mobile communications firm Jarbyco. So she’s in the marketing trenches and knows what she’s talking about. Her resume includes Willow Creek and VeggieTales, so she’s also a recognized expert in the ministry world. You can check out Dawn’s blog or follow her on Twitter.
You’re a marketing and branding expert—quiz time: A church has a lame logo, a horrible website and no strategy. Where should they start to turn things around?
Dawn Nicole Baldwin: It really needs to start with senior leadership. What do they believe is God’s vision for their church? Understanding who they are, where they’re wanting to go and who they want to reach helps to influence the direction of communication tools and the strategy behind it.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve seen churches do to communicate in the past year?
Dawn: I’ve been really excited to see the creative ways churches have been embracing new technologies like text messaging. It’s giving churches a chance to interact with their congregation in new ways like texting questions about a message during the service, giving input through a poll or survey, or even praying together as a group as people text in prayer requests that are then displayed on side screens.
Tim Schraeder has done a great job explaining how Park Community Church in Chicago has used the technology, and churches that are wanting to learn a little more about taking questions during a service can also read a blog post from Tim Stevens, executive pastor of Granger Community Church.
Your work with Jarbyco has given you a lot of experience in the mobile world—how are churches adapting to the emerging mobile market?
Dawn: Churches are doing a great job of just jumping in and trying it out. I think it’s probably the first time in history that churches are running at the same pace as the marketplace in something that’s making such a large impact on our society. It may not be for everyone, but our culture is becoming increasingly mobile so it’s worth thinking about. Many churches are watching what others are doing and then modifying ideas to fit what works best for them. [Examples of what churches are doing can be found here at the Jarbyco blog.]
What do you see down the road for the Center for Church Communication specifically and church communication in general?
Dawn: I see a lot more collaboration and sharing of resources, which excites me. There are so many churches that are doing things well and CFCC is a great channel to facilitate connections and help share what’s happening. Communication directors can feel overwhelmed with everything that’s out there (and the speed of new things that keep coming) so having a “filter” of sorts to help determine what’s worth exploring and what wheels don’t need reinventing will be huge.
You worked for Big Idea Productions, creators of VeggieTales. What’s one thing you learned from promoting Bob & Larry that can be applied to church communication?
Dawn: God made each of us to be special :) We don’t need to duplicate what others are doing to a tee. It’s okay to look around for inspiration, but then make it your own. Rick Warren said there’s many different churches to serve many types of people. Discover what God’s unique call is for your church and live that to the fullest.