Editor’s Note: Our 10-year anniversary series asking if church marketing still sucks continues with Lori Bailey from LifeChurch.tv. We’ll be discussing this question all month long, so check out the other posts and share your thoughts.
Back in the Old Days
I remember reading Church Marketing Sucks from its earliest days. In 2004 digital technology in the church was still pretty novel, and many churches were just trying to figure out how to get a website. Blogs were a shiny new opportunity for churches (and someone I’m quite fond of wrote a book about that whole scene). Facebook was still exclusive to college students. Twitter wasn’t even born, and the smartest phone anyone had was a BlackBerry. Church Marketing Sucks was there to help us all figure it out together. It’s why I loved this community then and still do today.
Sharing Doesn’t Suck
As the church has become increasingly connected, we’re doing a better job at sharing ideas and learning from each other’s experiences. It’s encouraging to see the amount of support we’re able to give each other, especially when it comes to church marketing. One area where our team is learning a lot from others right now is social media. We really appreciate being able to hear what’s working and what’s not for ministries around the world. It’s different for every church. Even when something works for quite a few teams, you can be sure there’s a social media expert somewhere telling people to take a completely opposite approach. That’s where it gets tricky.
Any parent can tell you that doing something just because others are doing it is a bad idea. I have to wonder if that’s how we look to God sometimes when we blindly adopt the approach from another church. We can end up looking ridiculous when our efforts don’t ring true to who we really are as a church. If I see church marketing that sucks these days, it usually reflects a pale imitation of someone else’s shining moment.
Does Marketing Itself Suck?
We’re talking about whether church marketing sucks, but how about marketing itself? As the face of marketing changes and evolves, it’s important to consider the nature of these tools we have access to and this playing field we’re working within.
Marketing and advertising have grown more intrusive over the years. We’re constantly bombarded by thousands of messages wherever we turn. In response, we’re getting better and better at tuning it all out. We’re desensitized to outright selling.
But as we tune it out, we’re still captivated by some messages. We don’t necessarily mind being bombarded when we flock to watch Super Bowl commercials. But we want something different from the noise. We want substance and story. We want to connect with emotions that make us feel human.
Any marketing is only as good as the message it communicates. And that is where we, the church, have the advantage—and the responsibility. We get to show people what love looks like in everyday clothes. We get to shine a spotlight on the joy that dwells within us. We get to share a message of incomparable hope with a world that’s desperately hungry for it.
And that? That definitely doesn’t suck.
What do you think: Does church marketing still suck?