It’s the question that keeps pastors up at night, “If my church ceased to exist for any reason, would the community even miss it?” In 211 pages, author Mark MacDonald works to help pastors and churches put the question to rest in, Be Known for Something: Reconnect With Community by Revitalizing Your Church’s Reputation.
The reality for many churches is that they are all known for something but churches need to take a more active role in establishing what “that something” is. Mark points out that we’re all faced with thousands of decisions, discussions, marketing messages, and more that vie for our attention. And, we quickly label it to categorize it, and file it away in our minds, in order to move on. We can all rattle off one-word descriptions of the churches in our communities: the church on TV, the church with all the ads, the church with the Christmas play, the church whose pastor had the moral failure. Chances are none of those churches want to be known simply for those things.
MacDonald points out that “We need to become known for the solution to something that’s predominant in [the community’s] lives.” And your mission statement isn’t helping.
MacDonald argues that being known for something creates a thread that not only properly positions your church and ministry in the minds of the community, it also saves the church time and money, aligns ministries, and eliminates stress for church leaders!
Be: You are either what you say or you’re not. Who you are in the mind of the community is what you say and do consistently.
Known: You can “be” something, but it must be communicated effectively to be known. A solution to a pain and a path to a goal are the easiest concepts for your audience to remember.
For: Mark points out that the church is typically known for what it’s against. This is the opportunity to communicate what your church is for, and begin to overcome negative perceptions.
Something: One thing, not many. Be known for something narrows the focus to the one thing the community can grasp and remember.
One note to readers about this book is that there is a clear absence of case studies. Many of the examples the author uses tend to be anecdotal. Mark addresses this late in the book noting the propensity many churches have towards cutting corners by copying other successful ministries. He relents by offering two well-crafted examples of churches he’s worked with that allow you to see the end product.
Get the Playbook
Be Known For Something is the playbook for churches that desire to position themselves in their community’s mind. Mark concludes the book with a helpful guide on setting up a communications ministry to effectively deliver your “something” message to your community. Discussion questions follow each chapter, which makes it ideal for team discussions.