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Marketing the Church


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As I write this blog, I am watching television advertisements in-between episodes of the new Looney Tunes.  Interestingly, most of the day was spent at a free event (sponsored by Cox) for churches and non-profit organizations.  The topic of the day was using social media to market your congregation.

Okay, some of you, at this moment, need to rein in your rage.  Let that vein in your forehead stop throbbing and the blood pressure fall.  It’s okay, take a deep breath.

The reality is that “marketing the church”, advertising, or anything else along those lines really bring forth strong emotions in people.  Some folks are content with having the hours posted on the outdoor (unlit) sign and leaving the door unlocked (but only on Sunday mornings).  Some are content with the above and having an ad in the yellow pages (for anyone under 30 reading this blog: the yellow pages is a phone book (a big book with names and telephone numbers, like your contact list on your smart phone) which listed businesses and organizations instead of individuals).

A few congregations have websites (with events from 2008 still listed), fewer still have Facebook pages and so on and so forth.  The more technologically advanced or savvy a congregation becomes, the stronger the emotions seem to run either in favor of accepting the latest (and greatest?) in marketing and online presence, or railing against the loss of face-to-face communication and depth of relationship.

As you may have suspected given the tenor of my post thus far, I am strongly in favor of using technology in order to make a congregation’s presence known.  During the year 2000, several media outlets named Martin Luther in their top 3 of the most influential people of the last 1000 years.  Johannes Gutenberg was usually number one, with either Luther or Christopher Columbus being number two and the other number three.  Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press (technology!) and Luther and the Reformers took advantage of the new technology.

As a Lutheran pastor, I can’t help but wonder how Luther and the rest of the Reformers would use technology, specifically in the realm of communication, today.  Facebook?  Foursquare?  Twitter?  Google+?  Probably all of the above and more in order to reach people with the Good News.

How do you use marketing in your congregation?  What internet presence does your congregation have?  What are the dangers and how do you navigate them?


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