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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.