Marketing and Planting New Ministry

This post is the third post in a nine part Series: On Marketing and Ministry. For more posts in this series, check out the series frontpage.

We are naturally extremely conscious of marketing when we're planting new ministry.

We craft vision statements, design visual elements and logos, practice talking about our mission and vision.  So much marketing work goes into the launch of new ministry.

But have you ever seen this happen ...

A new ministry launches ... boom, boom, pow ... and then fizzles.

We think to ourselves "That ministry fizzled despite all that marketing."  But we're wrong.

Most ministry plants don't fizzle despite marketing, they fizzle because of marketing.

Actually they fizzle because of bad marketing. Bad marketing creates distraction, disappointment and ... well ... another dose of distraction [For more on this idea, check out my bonus post: 3 Ways Bad Marketing Kills New Ministry]

But good marketing ... permission marketing ... works like fuel for the fire. 

Permission marketing involves taking people through a process, a spiral invitation process (we invite them, they respond by inviting us to invite them again, to something more).  In the business world, people talk about turning strangers into customers into loyal customers into fans.  Marketers strategize how to take people step-by-step through this process.

Why should we be any less strategic?

When planting new ministry, here are Three Marketing Questions to ask:
  1. How are we inviting deeper levels of involvement with this ministry?
  2. What story are we telling to people who are new to this ministry?
  3. Who are we attracting through our stories about this ministry?
When planting new ministry, here are Four Marketing Tips that will help you a lot:
  1. Focus your energy / time on building relationships, not publicity
  2. Tell vision-casting stories about your new ministry as often as you can
  3. Do what you can do remarkably (this generates word-of-mouth marketing)
  4. Make all of your marketing messages personal (ie. no mass e-mail, mass text ... phone calls and face-to-face time are golden)
And, finally, let me tell you a story about marketing and planting new ministry to illustrate these concepts.

We're planting new ministry at Broward College Central this Fall.  When we decided to go for it, I was tempted to put all my energy into getting the word out, advertising on campus, creating a web presence.  But I know better.

I've picked two guys to build relationships with.  I'm spending what time I can with them sharing vision for the ministry and giving them my best ministry training.  We have no e-mail lists, no handouts, no flyers.  As our ministry grows, we will grow by word-of-mouth and multiplication.

Right now, the three of us are looking for the right people to connect with, a profile we call "missional Christians."  We're praying and keeping our eyes open.  In the next week, we'll have one Small Group up and running.  We'll invite the people we meet to come by once and check it out.  If they like it, we invite them to come back.  And over time, we'll build a ministry.

What would you have to change to include permission marketing when planting new ministry: relationship, vision, process?

Tomorrow's post will focus on Marketing and Building Ministry ... some thoughts on what you do marketing-wise once your ministry is up and running.  A link will be posted here as soon as the post is published.

Don't forget to check out the bonus post [3 Ways Bad Marketing Kills Ministry]

Photo courtesy of scottchan and

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