Marketing and Building Ministry

This post is the fourth post in a nine part Series: On Marketing and Ministry. For more posts in this series, check out the series frontpage.
What are your plans to grow your ministry?

At some point, you realize that people keep showing up at this thing you're doing.  Wouldn't it be great if more and more people were impacted?  Wouldn't it be great if more and more people dug in deeper with God, if they didn't just show up, but grew?

Thoughtful marketing is one of the factors that determines whether a ministry grows or plateaus, whether you build something lasting or build something shaky.

In yesterday's post on planting new ministry, I mentioned the concept of a spiral invitation process.  You invite them to a cookout, then they invite you to invite them to the next thing you're doing.  You invite them to something a little more close to the core of your ministry ... a Large Group meeting or a Sunday morning service.  They enjoy it and give you permission to invite them to other things you're doing.  It's a spiral ... or a tennis match on an elevator.

Now this may not sound like marketing to you.  It sounds like strategy.  But in our fast-paced, overloaded world, we need to link our marketing and our strategy.

Perhaps no one has articulated this need to move people step-by-step deeper into our ministries better than Andy Stanley and the folks over at Northpoint.  Check out this video where he explains the concept: Foyer, Living Room, Kitchen.

In his book on ministry strategy (Seven Practices of Effective Ministry), Stanley talks about how to design steps that lead people to engage more deeply with your ministry (you can read more here: How to Create an Effective Step).  Every step needs to be easy, obvious and strategic.

Don't make your steps too big.
Don't make your steps too confusing.
Don't make your steps away from the core of the ministry.

Quality marketing helps you realize when your steps are too big.
Quality marketing helps you make your steps clear.
Quality marketing makes sure people end up where they need to be.

When building ministry, here are Three Marketing Questions to ask:
  1. How are we communicating the next steps we want people to take?
  2. Can people involved in our ministry take the next steps (and are they)?
  3. If people take the steps we're asking them to take, where will they end up?
When building ministry, here are Four Marketing Tips that will help you a lot:
  1. Communicate the next steps more than you think you need to
  2. Use Sticky techniques to communicate next steps [see my bonus post: Sticky Next Steps]
  3. Track both where people are in your ministry and where they're headed (metrics matter)
  4. Make sure that, along the way, you include other people in the invitation spiral.  There's no race to the top.  People who are getting more involved can help others get more involved (and this causes ministries to grow).
One last thought ... ultimately, ministries grow as God mysteriously and graciously takes our best efforts and turns them into something special.  Apart from God, no amount of marketing or strategy will help you build this ministry.  As we work and plan, we need to be constantly aware of our dependence on God.  Prayer helps me with this.

How are you helping people to engage more and more deeply with your ministry?

In tomorrow's post, I'll turn my attention to Marketing and Evangelism. I think that this concept of permission marketing and step-by-step processes can revolutionize our engagement with this most intimidating aspect of following Jesus.  A link will be posted here as soon as the post is published.

Don't forget to check out the bonus post [Sticky Next Steps]

Photo courtesy of digitalart and

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