As a church planter and pastor, I understand the challenge of juggling all the responsibilities that our role entails. From weekly sermon preparation and delivery to prayer and counseling, and all the other administration that comes along, it can mount up and become too much to take on anything else.
I faced it for 14 years as a pastor in various roles, and feel the pain and overwhelm with you. Now as I run a full-time marketing business and minister in the marketplace, I continue to feel it.
So let me share with you what I learned about the value of my college education and career prior to pursuing my call to ministry – marketing.
MINISTRY MEETS MARKETING
I learned the importance of marketing for ministry – specifically the importance of a clear and compelling online presence – when our family moved to Mansfield (Dallas/Fort Worth) in 2014 to replant a church. We were a young and small church without a lot of resources in any category and for years we struggled to grow and welcome new people into the church.
Very few would find us through our denominational networks. When you searched for churches in our city, we came up somewhere on page three of Google, which might as well have been the kiss of death because no one searches that deep anymore (75% of all searches never go beyond the first page).
So I changed two things: the design and layout of our website, and the content, or words we were using.
By relaunching our website with a fresh updated look and clear and compelling messaging, we found ourselves now on page one of online search. This resulted in welcoming new people to our church almost every week and helped us grow our Membership to historically high numbers.
At the end of 2018, our church closed, because after several years of replanting the church we just couldn’t keep it going and sensed this was the Lord directing us to move in a different direction. But I believe had we not made the adjustments to our online presence, we would have arrived at that place much earlier. I believed this so strongly that I pursued becoming a StoryBrand Certified Guide when launching my company, Empathy Marketing Group, just so I could better help businesses and churches communicate in clear and compelling ways with the people they are trying to reach.
Your website is not a “magic formula” or “silver bullet” solution, but it is part of the normal means God has given us to reach the world around us.
Pastors, let’s make it the tool that it can be to reach people with the gospel and welcome them into the body of Christ rather than another burden to slow down our mission, or an obstacle for people to overcome.
Pastoring is hard work as it is. But we make it unnecessarily harder when we ignore principles and best practices of marketing in today’s world.
Chris Gensheer is the founder of Empathy Marketing Group, StoryBrand Certified Guide, and a Pastor. He believes that if churches are sharing the greatest story ever told, they need to share it in clear and compelling ways where people are – online. Check out what he can do for your church at www.empathymarketinggroup.com.