Posts Tagged ‘church’

@maurilio:

12

Church Branding or Marketing? What’s the Difference?

If “marketing” was the church’s buzzword for the ‘90s, “branding” is definitely the new, upstart concept when it comes to communications these days. So what makes the new millennium’s branding better than last century’s marketing strategy? A lot, if we understand the differences between them. Branding and marketing both aim at communicating a product, an institution, even a person to a particular audience. This whole process happens solely in the mind. In this case, perception is reality—for good or bad. Most of what marketing does is build a brand—create a favorable reality in the minds of our target audience. A marketing campaign’s effectiveness is measured in months, but a brand’s strength is calculated in years, even decades. Each marketing effort should help define, position, and strengthen the brand. Recently, the Old Spice campaign featuring Isaiah Mustafa has sold a lot of deodorant to men who want to be more Isaiah…

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12

It’s Time to Rethink the Welcome Center Experience

Welcome centers are at heart of the experience in most service-oriented businesses and churches. The idea is a good one: create a focal point that allows newcomers to find the information they need in order to have the best experience possible. But I think we have missed the point on implementation, specially churches. Somehow we have bought into the idea that a counter-service type of approach is the optimum way to welcome someone. It isn’t. The problem with most welcome centers is the foundational assumption it creates by the virtue of its design: a counter fortress where staff or volunteers stand  behind waiting for those seeking help to engage them. Some are quite elaborate constructions in the middle to atriums and concourses with computers and flat screens.  To me that’s not a welcome station; it’s a help desk. It puts the entire ownership of the process on the new person.…

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8

Is Your Church Hard to Get In?

The natural tendency of things is to go from simple to complex. It happens in businesses and it certainly happens in churches. Size, resources, both financial as well a people, dictate a lot of what a church can do in its infancy. But growing organizations, by nature of growth, become increasingly sophisticated and, thus more complex. Unwittingly, churches develop their own language and culture and a set of assumptions about their organization. One of the most dangerous of these assumptions is that the church’s internal culture is a mirror of its community, and, therefore, easy for newcomers to understand. I can think of so many examples, but one that comes to mind is the way churches have creative names for every age-group ministry: Fuse, Stretch, MainStreet, The Loft, to name a few. Familiarity causes staff to drop the most important of denominators, the age descriptor. What started out as Fuse…

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14

When Churches Hurt

“I’m in a different stage of my life right now,” said the young man across the counter as I asked him if he went to church. “I don’t like what organized religion has become,” he continued. I hear a variation of that reasoning quite often. But as I probed and asked about his church background, I was not expecting his answer. As he told me his story, he mentioned growing up in a church I know well in another city. Years ago, it was one of the most dynamic evangelical churches in that metropolitan area. It grew to mega church status and one day the fighting began. First it was over church governance, and then over musical styles, and then over whatever else people could find polarizing.  it grew ugly until the inevitable split. It was a mess. No one won. No one. Some have claimed victory, however. But the…

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14

What Does the Ideal Board Member Look Like?

Board meetings can be either energizing or draining. The difference between the two lies whether the board is helping to fuel growth or managing decline. Those are two completely difference meetings; trust me, I’ve sat through both. However, good board meetings are mostly the function of choosing good board members. While that sounds so obvious, it’s harder than you think. I’ve suffered through many a bad, boring or contentious meeting because people in the room were poor choices for leaders. Here’s what I believe are the characteristics of a good board member: Understands the vision of the organization Is involved in the organization beyond board meetings. Empowers the leadership to do their jobs well Is an advocate of the staff Contributes financially (non-profits and churches) Creates opportunities Recruits Protects the vision and the staff Brings fresh perspective Too often people sitting on boards think their job is to second guess…

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22

My Prayer for the American Church

Someone asked me yesterday “so what do you think is the future of the church in America?” Boy, that’s a loaded question. A lot of people smarter than me have speculated on where the American church is headed. Some feel hopeful but many others have pointed towards the spiritual darkness of the European landscape as its future. While I’ll leave the speculation to pollsters, here’s my prayer for the Church in America: I pray that the church will continue to seek those outside the faith. I believe that nothing is closer to heart of God than rescuing those for whom He sent his Son to die on the cross. I pray that the church will live its faith out in authentic community where the broken as well as the whole can do life together. I pray that the church will continue to remind Christians that while we are change agents…

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16

What Should The Church Do With Boomers?

As the first of 77 million baby boomers reach retirement age, their annual spending power is estimated at 2 trillion dollars. Businesses are working hard at creating Boomer-centric products from cars to ovens while marketers are coming up with innovated ways to sell these products and services to the most affluent generation ever to walk on earth. But what’s the church strategy to reach, engage and deploy this generation? Mostly a seat on a church board. While this is not a scientific or even researched post, I speak from the perspective of someone who gets to visit a lot of churches and happens to be very at the very tail end of the Boomer generation.  Most of the funding for new buildings, capital expenditures and programs come from the 45-65 year olds. It makes sense; we have been in the work force longer and have accumulated more discretionary wealth, and…

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16

5 Characteristics of a Growing Church

I spent Sunday morning with my friends at the Church on The Eastern Shore in Fairhope, Alabama, a very eclectic artist community near Mobile. I rejoiced with them as hundreds of new faces visited the church on the opening Sunday of their new teaching series. That’s a part of my job that gives me  great satisfaction: watching God bless an entire team’s effort. COTE’s story is one that I have seen happen time and time again, but it never grows old. Here’s what I have seen in churches like COTES that succeed in reaching their community for the gospel. They learn. Growing churches are learning organizations. They are always asking “how can we be better?” They invest resources and in training and helping their staff and volunteers grow. I’m always humbled when I’m asked to consult with a church and help them to stretch beyond where they’ve been. They have…

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23

Is Your Church Boring People with The Gospel?

He’s only twelve years old but he convinced his whole family to try a different church. After spending the night at our house one weekend, Josh attended a service at the downtown campus of Cross Point Church. He sat quietly through worship and teaching but afterward spoke his peace “wow, I wish my church was like this. It’s so boring and I hate going.” Weeks went by and Josh visited again with us. Three weeks later, he was back. This time with his whole family: mom, dad and older brother. They sat next to us and left the service with big smiles on their faces and these parting words, “we will be back!” I love my church and I’m definitely biased about what happens there, but I also know the congregation Josh and his parents use to attend. I understand their feelings. When was the last time someone bored you…

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25

What’s Your Church’s First Message?

We all want to believe we are friendly. I’ve never been to a church that said, “we’re not friendly.” Well, I take that back. I once visited with a minister who said “we’re not a very friendly congregation.” And boy, he meant it. But usually churches I work with are evangelical protestant congregations with a heart for those outside the faith. Such churches want newcomers to feel welcomed and go through great lengths to create environments that say, “we’re glad you here.” But sometimes there’s a disconnect between what happens inside and what people see on the outside. Recently I saw this sign outside a church’s front door: In principle I don’t have a problem with a church not wanting people to eat, talk on the phone or even chew gum. Ok, I have a problem with not being able to chew gum at church. But should that be the…

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