Ministry Marketing Part 1: Overview

Well I thought it would be best to give you an overview of what exactly is Ministry Marketing? Well to start off I’ll give you the AMA’s (American Marketing Association) recently updated definition (2007) and then my own.

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

The art of creating and aligning content, communication and process in order to create value for people that could be affected by your ministry.

Ok so what does that even mean? Well Marketing even when I was in college from 2004-2007 was more of a function or a department of a company. Recently though, this thought has changed. Marketing is no longer a function or a department, but an activity that every member of the corporation is responsible for. So anything that your ministry does creates some kind of value for people.

Is the value that you individually creating for your ministry positive or negative?

But with so many ministries and different people how can you control the value that is being sent out? Great question with a simple yet complex answer.

You can’t.

You most certainly can do things to affect it but you will never be able to control it.

But why write this blog about Marketing if we can’t control it. Because I think that we can affect it in a way that provides clear value to a world that is hurting and needs help from a Savior that can satisfy all of their needs.

For fear of losing you with more boring rhetoric, I’ll give you some juicy tidbits to consider for your church or ministry.

Three things that need the most help

  1. Purpose:

    2 necessary questions. First what is it? What is your purpose? God created each of us differently and each of our ministries should mirror that. God put us in a place to meet specific needs for people and gave you and the people in your ministry specific skills in order to do so. So once you know what your purpose is then ask this question. Does this (communication piece, video, event, game, song, etc.) satisfy our purpose?

  2. Communication from top down:

    Not talking about just staff here, although Lord knows we need help there as well. But your volunteers are value holders just as much as you are. Here is one of my favorite quotes and something that I try and live by. It comes form George Bernard Shaw.

    “The problem with communication…is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

    Don’t judge how well you’ve communicated purpose and vision by your most committed people. Instead judge by your least committed people. Then you’ll know how effective you are at communication your vision and purpose.

  3. We’ve always done it this way:

    I don’t think this is necessary a problem on most church staffs when coming up with ideas. But when it comes to the implementation, the hill to climb in order to persuade, convince, get buy-in, bribe people into changing is just way to big. We’ve got to allow God to lead our change and do things that create value in the individual way that He created our ministry/church/person to do.

O there’s more fun on the horizon. What do you think about everyone being a shareholder? How about the three things I listed? Any that you would add?  

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J.C. Thompson
J.C. Thompson is the 5th & 6th Grade Director at Brookwood Church in Simpsonville, SC, one of Outreach magazine’s Top 100 Largest Churches in America.