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 unitychurchmarketing.com 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 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 into my life. 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 defend my point of view.
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.