Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in December 2017

Is Your Church Hitting the Marketing Bulls Eye?

My wife and I had some friends in from out of town, so we headed down to St. Simons. If you have never been to St. Simons, it is in the SE corner of Georgia. It is a beautiful place where even if you have been stressed, will definitely get you into relaxation mode.

But I wasn’t quite into full relaxation the first morning so I headed to the coffee shop across the street from the hotel. There I could read the paper, and do one of my favorite things when I am on the road. Some people would call it eavesdropping, but that doesn’t sound as nice as people watching (and listening). I have been able to hear some amazing things and also meet some cool people as a result of allowing myself to join their conversations uninvited.

But I digress. There was one gentleman who was drinking his coffee and reading the bible. Not long after a person about half his age came through the door, tapped him on the shoulder and said hello. They eventually got into a conversation about church and achieving goals.

Which is it that you are going for…the target or the bull’s eye?

The older man made a comment that made me immediately get out my Treo and write it down, because I thought it was profound and something that a lot of churches really don’t understand:

Whatever you end up with, that is what you aimed for!

Too many times, I think that churches aren’t always clear about what it is they want to achieve. Whether it is a marketing promotion, a stewardship campaign or just a desire to build the church membership, church leaders are often satisfied to just hit the target when they should have been shooting for the bullseye all along!

That may sound harsh but think back to the last planning meeting you attended at church. Typical comments are to the effect of “We would be happy if we got XXXX” or “I am not sure what [insert an action] will get us, but it will be better than we have right now”

Church leaders become more focused through the simple act of setting goals and measuring results along the way.

But is setting a goal enough?

The intention is important. But intention without a plan is not very useful. And when you create that plan, know exactly what it is you are trying to accomplish. Saying you want to grow your children’s/youth ministries is a commendable goal. One that many churches have.

But the churches that seemingly outperform the others go about their goals differently than most church leaders.

Planning is important, but keep it simple!

Some churches are overwhelmed by just the thought of planning, so they avoid it altogether. It doesn’t have to be that way. This usually comes about as a result of trying to eat the elephant all at once. Break your planning down into these simple steps:

Needs of the Spiritual Community – Exactly what is it that you want to achieve? This is more easily accomplished by determining what actions/objectives are going to best strengthen the ministry of your church?

SWOT – Ascertain what your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are! Understanding these will better help you to understand and plan for your spiritual needs.

Short and Long Term Milestones – Know where you want to be at certain points along the journey by formulating both short and long-term milestones.

Man didn’t wake up one day and just go to the moon. President Kennedy provided the vision in a speech he gave in 1961. There were a lot of goals along the way that ultimately allowed Neil Armstrong to make his “one small step for man, one giant step for mankind” speech in 1969.

You probably aren’t going to take your church membership from 100 to 1,000 in 6 months. This can be done by creating 3/6/12/24/36 month milestones. Your chances of success are going to be greater by putting a specific goal (number of new attendees, money raised, etc) along with a date.

Successful churches shoot for the center!

Taking the example above, the successful churches don’t just put an abstract goal of growing the children’s/youth ministries and hope for the best. That is just hitting the target.

Success churches shoot for the center, the bull’s eye and then gear everything that they do at hitting it.

So, they hone their goal down to making their goal growing the high school age ministry. And they then put programs (notice that is plural) into place that not only attracts that demographic but also serves them!

By doing that they are shooting for the bull’s eye and not just the target.

Setting clear goals and measuring the results.

Remember what Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured, gets done”. So be unambiguous about what it is you want to accomplish as a goal. It needs a definite number and time frame attached to it.

Don’t think for a minute that once you create a clear-cut goal/objective, that you can just “set it and forget it”. Assign clear milestones along the way to see if you are on track! If need be, make adjustments.

Success begets success!

The bottom line to think about is if your church isn’t hitting its’ target goals and objectives, there is probably a reason. Keep the above in mind when you begin to plan for your next campaign, no matter how big or small the goal is. By doing the above, you will begin to hit the bull’s eye more often.

Is There Really A Need for Unity Church Marketing?

So, the question that is most likely to be asked when they come to a place like this is, “Why are you doing a blog about church marketing for Unity?” There are a couple of answers in my case, but to me it is simple…Because we need it now more than ever!

People often wonder if there is indeed a need for marketing within any religious organization. And that is the discussion that I am sure we will be having over time.

Oftentimes, there is a belief that churches don’t have to “stoop down to that approach”. There is also a feeling that somehow marketing and selling are the same. And that selling is somehow “less than”. I have to tell you that for an organization that really relies on “not judging”, this is one area where I think it is overlooked.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all churches are this way. There are some pretty progressive churches out there that are flourishing. But, by and large, we could all improve. Hopefully, that is where comes in.

While I am not a marketer by trade, I do believe (and have demonstrated) that I am better than many people are at this. I have created several businesses that have started with an idea and through marketing, have been successful. And I didn’t throw a lot of money at an issue or come up with something that I was ashamed to say that I created. How? Well, for one, I have dug in and done the research. While I have used some tried and true approaches, my success has generally come from thinking out of the box (which also matches most church’s budget).

In today’s church, our Ministers are our CEO’s. And like a lot of businesses I go to, the owner is usually pretty good at what they do in their chosen profession/skill. Typically they worked at another company and either saw an opportunity or found themselves having to make one. But while they are truly competent at what they do, they oftentimes don’t have a clue on everything else that is involved in running a successful organization. Many Unity Ministers find themselves in a similar position.

I also understand that a church is not a business. I get it. But in my day job as a Project Manager, I am always asking my customers to think about “reinventing yourself” Just because you haven’t done something in the past is certainly no reason not to at least consider stretching your horizons now.

Over the weekend I was doing some dishes in the morning (very manly…indeed) while my wife happened to be watching Joel Osteen on TV. He spoke of how his Father who was a strict by the book preacher had let some friends of his talk him into seeing a woman preacher. Not only was this somewhat unheard of at the time, but this woman actually took off her shoes when she delivered her message, a fact that had Joel’s father knew up front, would have been the clincher in not going to see her. Long story short, he became quite an advocate of woman preachers.

So, just consider some of the thoughts that will be put forward here. Are you going to agree with everything put forth? Probably not, but then I am not in 100% agreement with messages that get delivered each Sunday when I attend. My hope is just like those messages that don’t resonate with me initially each week that you will give some thought to them and see if there is a way for them to move your organization to where it wants to be. You won’t implement them all in the same manner that I don’t incorporate each week’s message. But just like attending church each week, I am a better person just for listening.

At the top of the page, I indicated that one of the many reasons that this blog is here was what I perceived as an obvious need. Many churches either don’t understand marketing or didn’t know how to implement it.

But just because the need was there, there also had to be a motivation to make this work long term. Because, let’s face it, for the most part, I am doing this for free. I can thank a former home church for providing me the energy to show that my ideas are not just pie in the sky, but concepts that when put forth can reap benefits in all areas of the church (how the church is viewed in the community, not only attracting, but keeping newcomers at the church, increasing the morale of staff and volunteers etc.)

Great…what about WIIFM? (what’s in it for me?)

  • Educate – If nothing else, this site is going to demonstrate to you some of the possibilities that are not only doable, but being successfully put forth. What are some great practices (as well as some not so great) and how you might do it better.
  • Motivate – I would like to think this is a whole lot more than just adding a few more church members. I want you to build your brand and to make it not only stand out from others, but one that you don’t have to apologize for.
  • Provoke – I have a saying…”At some point you have to be honest with yourself” Churches are no different. All churches (including and maybe especially Unity Churches) need to come to grips that many times the marketing message they are sending out to the world is not great. Some would even say it sucks. Many times the communications skills just aren’t there…yet.
  • Irritate/Annoy – Not everything here is going to be sugarcoated. And some things are going to annoy you to no end. And for that I am not apologetic. In fact, I think we are too apologetic overall in getting out our message. So, if you are annoyed, then I am happy.
  • Validate – Agree or disagree. That is fine. Unlike my church experience, I am happy to listen, discuss and

Hey, what are you getting out of this?

  • More than you know. I am confident that some folks are going to implement the suggestions that are found here. And they are going to benefit. And if that is all I get, I am good.
  • I have a day job, so I am not looking at this as a financial windfall. Every now and then, something is going to come my way, but that is not the motivation at this time. I want all churches to do a better job of communicating and getting it right. And while my focus is on Unity (New Thought) Churches in general, the concepts that are delivered here will cross over to most churches easily.
  • Probably just like you, my church matters to me. But if in the end, all that is accomplished is just one church resonates and benefits from this page…then my purpose has been achieved.

The Top 6 Reasons Your Church Should Be Using Video!

When you say WordPress to most everyone these days, they think blogs. And to some extent they are correct. But don’t sell it short either.

The assumption is, since WordPress is a blogging tool, the only design you can use has to resemble a blog in layout and functionality. While this is the case with most free and premium themes, custom WordPress applications have much more design freedom.   But if that is the case, why should your church be thinking about using WordPress?

1. WordPress can meet the website requirements of whole organizations.

Most people who know about WordPress think of it as a blogging tool, it has the power to scale up to meet the website requirements of whole organizations. While WordPress may not be perfect for everyone, such as mega-churches who require far more than 95% of the churches out there, it does well for the rest.

2. It is perfect for ministries on a tight budget. 

That is the beauty of WordPress. If you already have a domain, you can use that or go to the WordPress website for free. There are literally hundreds of free, attractive design themes for WordPress. Most are easy to implement and none take special technical knowledge.   And if you decide that you don’t want to use one of the literally thousands of free WordPress themes (designs), having a customer theme made for you will be infinitely less expensive than a full-fledged website design/hosting costs.

3. Vast Number of Themes Available

One of the benefits of using WordPress is the vast number of themes that are available. There a literally thousands, many of them geared specifically for churches.. My advice is, if you are new to WordPress, pick a theme to start with and focus on developing your content first. Then as your site matures, you’ll want to improve on the theme, either by choosing a new one or customizing it. In this post, I’ll suggest a few ideas of where to start.

4. It is easy to use.  

When I think of WordPress, I think of the new Creative Vado HD video camera I recently got.  Has a lot of cool things and is simple to use. One click installs and 5 minutes later you are done. Can it get any easier than that?

If you can type, you can pretty much use WordPress. You can start publishing in 15 minutes or less from start to finish It has a simple user interface that makes it easy for users at any level to managing images, content etc.

And the plugins (once again easy to use) can make it easy to add such things as a calendar, comment editing, etc.

Furthermore, if you ever get stuck, the user forums that are available will answer every question that you might dream of. It is rare where you encounter a challenge to which you can’t find the answer with only a few clicks. (I am only saying that because it could happen, although my experience is that I have rarely had to use a forum or help because it is so easy)

5. Google loves WordPress

Having and using a WordPress blog is one of the most efficient ways to increase your website rankings on Google. And there is some data to suggest that the WordPress sponsored blogs (remember those? The free ones for those on a tight budget?) even more than websites that use WordPress. Google is the most popular search engine in the world and millions of people use it daily. WordPress can handle most of the search engine optimization requirements that you need help with on a regular website.

6. You cut the ties with the website designer

Don’t get me wrong here. There is a place for website designers as they serve a valuable purpose. They can definitely help some organizations do better things with design, search engine optimization and other aspects of a great church website. Conversely, there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to get a change made on a timely basis because your website designer/firm wasn’t available.