I cannot, for the life of me, understand why God would need a marketing plan. From all appearances, the digital world feels the need to design, present and host a full array of marketing techniques for church growth.
The most widely publicized statistics are that 40 to 45 percent of Americans attend a religious service on a weekly basis while more than 90 percent claim to believe in a higher power.
Eighty-four percent of Americans consider themselves to be Christian, with 57 percent of that group claiming to be of a Protestant denomination (Barna Group, 2006, pp. 8, 10).
Increasingly, one faith is not enough for many Americans as 19 percent claim that their faith practice is influenced by more than one religion (Gallagher, 1996).
So why do we need a mission statement, motto, or outreach program?
According Pew Research (2002), compared to other ‘first world’ countries, there is no other country in the industrialized world where religion plays such an important part in people’s lives.
If your favorite eatery had a 90% market share they would be the envy of the town. So why the hard sell on church?
The ‘supply-side’ theory of religion claims that changes in religion stem from changes in the producers of religious activities. A “religious marketplace” exists in America where “spiritual entrepreneurs” flourish.
The local church growth, i.e. attendance numbers, seems to be the only measuring stick the consumer driven congregation can identify as a positive. “If the preacher/leadership wasn’t doing what God wanted we wouldn’t be doing so well” claims Mandi, a mother, wife and evangelical church member. And still, the church Mandi attends has all their media/tools focused on growth and outreach.
The general thought process of marketing and media, from the church perspective, is to fulfil the command of Mark 16:15; “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
The unfortunate side of this line of thinking…. God said GO…. not advertise.
In order for a person to GO…. they must be prepared. 2 Timothy 4:1-3 tells us “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.”
We have already reached this prophesied time.
The second command that the Messiah leaves with his followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations..” Matthew 28:19
Definition of a disciple: a follower or student of a teacher. If you are to ‘make’ disciples then you must be the teacher. You must first become a student, then, when you are proficient and capable you are in a position to fulfil this command.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest.
The knowledge needed is NOT how to better videotape your sermon, increase web traffic, or social media presence. The knowledge needed is that of the Scriptures! Imagine the consequences…..
Isaiah 5:13 “Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; And their honorable men are famished*, And their multitude is [parched with thirst]**.”
*severely lacking **deprived of living waters
What is the REAL answer to why do churches need marketing?
Isaiah 41:9 tells us that God has “called his people from the ends of the earth.” Again we see in John 17:11 “keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me”. Finally, Jesus states in Matthew 16:18 “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”