Do you cringe a little when you see the words “church” and “marketing” together? I know I can’t be the only one. 

I’m not really sure why, given that marketing for churches is what I do for a living, and what I believe the Lord has called me to do this season of my life.

Maybe we just need a new word for “marketing.”

This is not the first time I have taken a stab at creating new words. I am known for wanting to rename things often.

One time I was so convinced I was able to replace the word “website” with something like “goucot” for everyone in the whole world. 

I know it sounds weird, but hear me out: websites are no longer “sites” in the “web”. A “site” implies something static, a fixed location, and nowadays what we have is closer to a “Goal Oriented User Centric Online Tool” or GOUCOT! Get it?

I was confident I could completely add a word to the dictionary. True story!

So you can see why I am searching for a word to replace “marketing” when it comes to churches.

Planning vs relying on the Holy Spirit

How much can we plan and how much should we rely on the Holy Spirit?

This question was heavy on me for a while. As I sought the Lord, it became clear to me that we need both.

I believe God is the one who grows the Church. We simply navigate the waves He sends our way, and adjust the sails accordingly. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

Our first strategy should be prayer. Period.

We should seek the Lord and wait for His voice and act in obedience.

What about planning and strategy?

The more I search the Bible for the answer the more I am convinced that there is a space for it.

Our God is a God of order, a God of detail, and a god of numbers and measurements. In several occasions He instructed His people with something along the lines of, “This is how you are to build it.”

There was method. There was process. There was a plan, a blueprint.

When you start with prayer, and have the foundational belief that God grows the church, then you can begin to layer on process and strategy guided by the Holy Spirit.

When it comes to having a plan and marketing for churches (there’s that word again), the secret strategy is to start with people. From there, create a process of engagement and then (and only then) look for tools that allow you to execute your processes.

People over process. Process over tools.

This is key.

Starting with the tools is a recipe for failure. Twitter may be a great channel for some and a complete failure for others. Radio may be the way some churches are successful in attracting new members but that may be completely wrong for my audience. And let’s not forget Snapchat…

Church marketing should start from prayer and move on to a strategic process that starts with your audience in mind.

The question I have for you is: how much do you know about the audience you are currently serving?

…for me, I’m still thinking of an alternative name to “church marketing”…