The Message driven Church
By message we are not talking about The Message, but the sub-message. The message of Jesus is usually always preached and does not change, but what about the sub-message or how the message is stated?
Is the sub-message, Jesus says… or how to fix a broken world… or help for hurting people? Does your church center around the Sunday service, is this where it happens?
The down side of a message driven Church is that is least likely to change and could be least flexible.
The up side of a message driven Church is that it is a strong voice as long as the person in charge is around, but may struggle when the leader dies or moves on.
The Medium driven Church
The medium driven Church could be a church with a strong Sunday School. It could be centered on the pulpit with one strong person. It could be the choir or a bus ministry. It could also be a TV ministry.
The up side is that it could be flexible or creative.
The down side is when it fixes in on one medium or one person.
The Market driven Church
The market driven Church is a church that aims for specific group or class of people, or any area that can be identified.
The up side is that it is usually the most creative and the most flexible. Always on top. Constant change.
The down side is that a market driven Church can become a slave to the market and with a highly market driven Church there is a high risk factor. Willing to comprise the message.
When all three of these are in alignment with each other you have the best situation. They are all good, but they must have good alignment. They may not be in balance, but should be in alignment. For example the message must reach the market. To do this you must study and know your market. Who are you reaching for and who is available for you to reach.
How well do you communicate what you are to your church?
How well do you communicate what you are to your community?
Image is what others think you are.
Identity is what you know you are.
Try to merge image and identity so that others really know what you are all about.
Step One – Inspire commitment from your staff or board.
Step two – Develop a self-awareness.
Ask yourself what is the dominant theme for out church now? Use a five year maximum time frame.
What moments from my church’s past and present are emblematic of our vision?
What do we want to say about our church and to whom?
If you try to appeal to everyone, you will not appeal to anyone.
Which truth about my church will I choose to represent us?
Pick only one and go forward with it. The one you pick is your identity and the one you go forward with is your image.
Be careful not to sell what you cannot deliver! You may not understand who you are.
Why do tag-lines matter? Think of it as your bumper sticker. It tells who you are and how you want to be seen.
A large southern church that has just come out of a long successful revival and is now trying to get back to being a church again, has picked a tag-line ( Explore Life Now ). Their market is a large geographical area that the past revival reached and the congregation usually spends the weekend when coming to the church. With beaches nearby, the message is to come, attend church and enjoy the beaches.
A few bad tag-lines:
“It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile”, Oldsmobile is no longer around, they drove off their older market by insulting the older drivers.
“Brown and Buddy”, Pepsi Cola tag-line and it only ran one week. They were aiming for the black community and it drew all kinds of negative feedback.
A few good tag-lines:
“Just Do It” and “Where’s The Beef?” This one lasted about 5 years in the 80’s and was only dropped during the 90’s due to weight becoming a public issue.
Look for a good advertisement company for your church, they will know how to make use of the subliminal messages in the selection of color fonts and graphics in your ads.
Avoid using real people from your congregation in your ads, you never know what may happen to them and you may have to pull an expensive ad.
If you ever blame a consumer, you have lost them. Blame is the result of negative guilt. Not all guilt is negative.
Remember that all non-profits require funding.
People will develop an image about ur church, but will it be what we want? Let’s give them our image!
What is the magnet north for your Church? If you shake a compass it will always return back to the same direction. What ever your church goes through, the direction it returns to is your orientation.
Examples of Church orientation:
Fill in the blank. As it is right now my church is ___________, orientated.
What is your church’s message?
What is your church’s medium?
What is your church’s market?
What was the size of your congregation 2 years ago?
What was the size of your congregation 5 years ago?
What is the average age of your congregation?
Has your revenue increased, decreased or remained the same?
Are you closing the door to visitors? Example: Private jokes known only to the congregation can turn visitors away. Do you make it sound like you must have problems to become a member?
Values of your Church
Clarify the values of your church, values are a policing factor.
Select the three top important values in your church.
1. Personal relationships
2. Spiritual life
3. Authority of Scripture
After the top three, the rest are just what people want to hear.
List the things that are important in your church and score them in order of importance 1 to 10.
Growth – 3
Service – 8
Pastoral – 7
Events – 2
Social Work – 2
Facilities – 1
Finances – 4
Compare what you feel is important with the values you have selected for your church. Are you being truthful in what you say your values are and what you place importance on. For example if you place growth as a value and you are not growing, then growth is not a value.
In the example above, do you think that these are true values with the low importance placed on some of the items?