What’s your new year’s resolution? Instead of making one for yourself, why not make one for your ministry?
Here’s a suggestion. Instead of reading the latest devotion/theological book, why not read a marketing book?
It sounds so crass, doesn’t it – marketing the Gospel. Okay, then let’s call it something different. How about “creatively making God’s truth relevant to our culture.”
Marketing is simply applying common sense to an issue in an effort to produce success. The Bible is filled with ideas for successful living, isn’t it?
I’ve found that reading the latest popular secular marketing book makes my mind more creative, and I’ll see parallels to my own ministry. I’ll dream up new ideas. I’ll try new things. I’ll evaluate. If the new thing fails, I’ll attempt to figure out why, then fix it or try something new.
For instance, by reading a marketing book you may discover that quality graphics are a subconscious clue for busy people to quickly evaluate the services offered by the digital advertising companies. That’s why millions are spent on logos and such. Does your website look amateurish (does your church even have a website?) Do your bulletins look like they were the product of a mimeograph from 1977? (Remember those things… with the purple ink and weird smell?) Would that send a signal to visitors that your church is amateurish and outdated?
Maybe you have trouble getting musicians to show up for rehearsals. By reading Freakonomics, I learn that many good, decent people will try to get away with anything they can. What if you decided to make a rule – if you don’t come to rehearsal, you can’t play on Sunday? Would that be enough incentive for them to rehearse?
What would happen if ministry leaders started seeing themselves as God’s entrepreneurs? Some have, and you know who they are. You don’t have to do things on a national scale, though. I get excited when I hear about a small church starting a coffee house to reach a different segment of the community. Or hearing about ministries that think outside the box and do clever things to reach their neighbors.
Just remember, successful entrepreneurs fail much more often than they succeed. They just appear more successful than the average Joe because, well, the average Joe just doesn’t try to do much. You can’t be afraid to fail, just don’t be afraid to try.
Here are a few of my favorite marketing books. To get your feet wet, I first suggest
Small Is the New Big and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas
All of marketing guru Seth Godin’s books are great, but this one is an easy start, with bite-sized essays on being remarkable. Why aren’t churches remarkable? By the way, Seth mentions WorshipIdeas in one of his ebooks along with other websites.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Learn to trust your instincts with this best seller by Malcolm Gladwell.
The book I mentioned earlier – “A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.”