3 Marketing Lessons from Jesus

I get push-back regularly from church leaders when it comes to “Marketing”. And I understand why. Often marketing feels like “compromising our message” or “manipulating an audience” for monetary profit. And both of these are absolutely wrong for the church.

We deserve better.

Instead, I believe that churches need to become known for something. For something — since the unchurched believes we’re against more things than we’re for). Let’s make the community need the church. Something that offers a positive solution to an audience in desperate need. Something that is simple and easy to remember. Not many things; but one thing.

It’s good promotion. And preparing the strategy to accomplish all of this is ultimately called marketing. We don’t try to profit in monetary terms. Instead we want the community to profit in a dynamic relationship with Christ.

In John 4, Jesus used excellent marketing skills. We have so much to learn from Him. Here’s 3 lessons we need to emulate:

  1. Jesus went to where He knew there would be a person in need. Do you know where that would be in your community? Are you visiting that location regularly, waiting for a person in need to stop by? We need to be available in the right places.
  2. Jesus supplied a temporal solution in order to deliver an eternal message. Water become living water. What are you able to provide to a community in need so that you can tell them of Christ’s love? Provide physical needs first and they’ll eventually listen to your spiritual truths.
  3. Jesus made the leap. Church is doing a major disservice to the community if they’re just doing something that’s needed without making the ultimate connection to the prevailing spiritual problem. All of our problems are caused by sin; and only One can solve the sin issue. Jesus is the eternal solution to their needs.

So, think the church needs to become experts in marketing now? We must be willing to strategize where to wait, what to share, and how to connect to Jesus. That can be done online, in person, and/or in print. It just needs to be planned beforehand. And that’s brilliant marketing.

This post originally appeared in the Weekly Update for the National Association of Church Business Administrators (The Church Network). Mark MacDonald is a regular writer for this and other national publications about church communications and updating a church website.

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