As you know, starting a church can be a daunting experience to say the least. However, when you get your marching orders from the Lord, you might feel like Jonah but yet you have to move forward like Paul and follow through on what God has called you to do. I am certain that all pastors have a passion to reach the people in their communities to lead them to Christ and want their church to grow. But if people are not coming to your church, chances are you probably need to find creative ways to successfully market your church.
If you are a new church starter, chances are your budget is similar to mine which means you are operating with very limited resources. If you want to let your community as well as the surrounding communities know about your church then this blog is especially for you.
I had to think outside of the box and become creative in my thinking. Thankfully, I have a very diverse background which encompasses years of experience in legal, business, education, leadership, contracting, project and program management and a creative side which truly helps. Don’t stop reading this blog if your skillsets do not mirror mine. There is still HOPE. I am sure there are individuals in your core group, church, family, co-workers or acquaintances who are willing to assist you with this endeavor. Just remember what James 4:2 says, (…we have not because we ask not.).
Because my church is operating with an extremely limited budget, I knew I needed to strategize on creative ways to market my church. Therefore, I remembered as an associate dean and professor of business, I taught students how to develop marketing and business plans using the four (4) P’s – product, price, place and promotion. It was at this point that I realized that some of the same principles could be applied.
In marketing your church, you must remember that the four (4) P’s can be applied when one understands that (1) The product is an experience, the environment, or other activity where one can have an encounter with the True and Living God and worship Him in spirit and in truth. (2) The price – there is a cost associated with being a follower of Jesus and it is not cheap. There is a significant cost in time and effort. Even though Jesus paid the price for our sins and Salvation is FREE, from a practical standpoint, it does cost money to run a church. (3) The place can be your church or it can be wherever you do your outreach ministries and (4) The promotion is designed to help you let your community know about the opportunity for your church to help lead one to have a relationship with Christ and motivate one to participate in regular church services.
Therefore, I developed the following creative ways to market my church on a dime:
- Develop vision and mission statements and a set of goals for your church. If you have completed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) Church Starter Cohort, just refer to your notes because you have already completed these items. Marketing isn’t only for businesses.
- Develop a catchy one sentence theme for your church. This is important because as you develop items to market your church, the theme should be on all of your marketing items and material.
- Develop a logo for your church. When you develop a logo, it should be on your church stationery, signs, posters and etc. When people see your logo in the community, they will identify it with your church.
- Customize and purchase a rubber stamp. The rubber stamp should have the following information: Name of your church, church phone number, name of the pastor, church email, and website address. Be certain to purchase one with your church logo and theme as well. The following are a just a few places where you can purchase rubber stamps:
Remember to shop around for the best prices. Don’t forget to ask about price matching. Many businesses will price match because they do not want you to go to their competitor. You do not have to carry sales papers with you, just use your cell phone to confirm the competitors’ price. Also, when shopping online, shop through Ebates and save money and start receiving yours checks. This is an awesome deal. There aren’t any hidden fees and no cost to join.
- Develop your own tracts. This can been developed easily with Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Word, other off-the-shelf software or you can search the internet for “free” templates. You can also purchase tracts online and use them as well. Refer to the following link:
Please ensure to use your rubber stamp to stamp each tract before giving them to people. Tracts are an excellent means for Evangelism Outreach.
- Create bookmarks with your church information and logo. The bookmarks can be given to your church members and used for your Evangelism Outreach and church welcome packets.
- Design your church bulletins with your church logo, theme, and etc. You can even include your mission statement to let members as well as non-members know the purpose of your church. Also, add a personal spiritual note from you as the pastor to motivate non-members to come again.
- Prepare welcome packets for your visitors. You can be very creative with your welcome packets. Ensure that all of your church information is included and you can even include tracts. It is very important that your ushers have all non-members complete a visitor card with their contact information.
- Create some glossy thank you postcards with your logo on it. Follow-up with all visitors and thank them for visiting your church and invite them to come again. Ensure that all of your church information is on the postcard.
- Create door hangers and flyers with your church logo and information. This can be used as a means of letting the community know about your church as you are doing your Evangelism Outreach.
- Be creative and do not just give the customary stuff. Look at what other churches are doing in the community and find a different way to do the same thing from a different perspective. Ensure that you prepare things to attract the youth.
- Give an award. Pick a worthy teacher, policeman, firefighter or etc. from your community and honor them with a nice award which has your church logo. Make it a big deal. Have the local radio stations to make announcements. Put it on the local community cable channels. Send out a press release to the local newspapers. Video tape the event and put it on YouTube.
- Have a Family and Friends Day. Tell your congregation that a gift will be given to the person who brings the most people. You can be creative and separate it into groups in order to give more than one gift. For example: senior female, senior male, adult female, adult male, junior female, junior male, youth female and youth male. The gifts can all be practical things with your church logo such as caps, t-shirts, license plate frame, pens, pencils, notepads, frisbees, jar openers and just let your creative side run wild because your options are countless.
- Advertise your church through various forms of media. Have the local radio stations (both AM and FM) to make announcements regarding your church service. Have the local community cable channels to advertise your church information and the days and times of all of your services. Contact the local newspapers and advertise your church information and the days and times of all of your services and when you have special programs or events. You also can use Facebook, Twitter, and of course your website just to name a few to market your church.
- Record your sermons and use CD covers with your logo. Go to various businesses in the community and ask them if they will allow you to leave free copies of your sermons for their patrons. Ensure that your CD covers have your church logo, church address, phone number, email, website and etc. You can also put them on YouTube.
Put on your “creative hat” and make your church known!
Pastor Carrie Jarrell Tuning
HOPE Christian Fellowship Baptist Church
Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina