If a room full of enthusiastic church-going folks and a pastor who sat through the entire seminar and asked questions about how to “get the word out” is any indication that the seminar was a success . . . then we had a great seminar recently at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Pratt City, Birmingham, AL.
The Reverend Dr. Matthew V. Johnson, Jr., senior pastor at Mt. Moriah in Pratt City, was introduced to me by our mutual preacher/friend, Reverend Anthony A. W. Motley, pastor of Lindsay Street Baptist Church in Atlanta. Pastor Johnson and I met at Starbucks for coffee several months ago and talked for a couple of hours about the challenges in his church. His challenges are no different from the average church today – mostly generational differences in his congregation, the changing of demographics around his church community, and neglect of marketing his ministries and getting the message outside of the church doors relative to the programs going on inside. Can we help them? Yes we can.
The process of giving advice to churches about how to market their ministries is “my ministry” and I learn something new about how to help churches every time I give a seminar on the subject. In addition to the seminar on: the following: (1) The importance of doing research on who the people are that sit in your pews and building a data base to tell you something about them; (2) Determining who your community stakeholders are and inviting them into your church; (3) Refreshing and revising your brand assets – i.e. logo and tagline; (4) Getting to know the gospel DJ’s at the radio stations in your city, (5) Making friends with media representatives; (6) How to plan and have a successful church event; and much more. I added a new approach this time. We started the seminar discussing who in the audience was dedicated enough to start the Marketing/Communication Committee. I brought a list of tasks/jobs that the committee should immediately address, and we solicited five members, including one man, to work on the committee.
If you have read this blog before, you know that I have written a book on this subject which is a “hands-on” publication of tried and tested tools and techniques based on the use of a combination of marketing disciplines. These disciplines include: research, goal setting, media relations, community affairs, advertising, social media, internet marketing, and praying. The most important ingredient is building a marketing/communications committee which is replete with hard working, dependable, reliable church members who will volunteer to take this responsibility seriously and get the job done.
The seminar ended on the presentation of how to increase membership with a few suggestions for projects to develop and implement that are sure to attract attention to the church and engage key groups of people to come inside the church doors. I admit that you will have to have a budget to do much of this work – at least to get started. Based on what goals you have set, collateral materials are needed and will require spending some dollars on good graphic design and printing. I suggest that you do not depend on social medial to reach the masses of people who are church goers. It is vital to use some traditional tools such as, relevant flyers, a well-constructed newsletter, a website that you at least visit and keep up once a month.
Admitting that I don’t have the answers to the problems, I feel that I left this church with a plan. I know this will take consistent work that is strategically focused on one problem at a time. Persistence, dedication, the love of God, and an active Marketing/Communication Committee are the most important ingredients.