Marcia Dixon shares why and how churches can use marketing/PR to aid them in their efforts to spread the Gospel in 2024
With 2024 fast approaching, it makes sense for churches, ministries and church social action projects to consider how they will communicate who they are, what they do, and share the gospel message.
Churches and ministries have the enormous yet humbling task of communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ, however they often lag behind the world in utilising PR/marketing principles to raise awareness, promote what they do, and share their message.
Some church leaders baulk at hearing terms like ‘PR’ and ‘marketing’, deeming such activities to be worldly. However, in my view, as someone who has worked in the media for over 30 years, it’s imperative that 21st century churches fully utilise the principles of these disciplines.
Following His resurrection, Christ commanded His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
During His sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the crowd that they are the “Light of the world” and to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16).
In Romans 10:14-15 the Apostle Paul wrote: ‘How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in…and how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”’
The above biblical directives state clearly: believers must share the Gospel; be a light to others, and that people won’t know about this glorious Gospel if efforts aren’t made to tell them. Adopting a PR/marketing strategy can help churches and ministries do this effectively and, in this social media age, we have the opportunity to reach the world with the Gospel from our computers.
I have been blessed to have attended churches where leaders understood the importance of PR and marketing. As a result of doing so, their churches have grown and they have seen people get saved, discipled and equipped to serve the Lord. Also, the wider world learned how God was transforming lives and using their churches to impact the community. Surely this is what churches should be aiming for?
Any church seeking to have greater impact in 2024 should aim to combine the age-old tools of prayer, fasting, Bible study and evangelism with a PR/marketing strategy to reach the world with its transformative message and fully engage with social media, which is used by 61% (4.95 billion) of the world’s population.
In fact, social media has become a key communication tool. It’s where people get their news, connect with friends, make new ones, share what’s happening in their lives, and access information. Social media is also a place where many people, particularly those aged 40 and under, learn about Christianity and find a church to attend.
I was reliably informed that Millennials use platforms like Instagram to consume short-form Christian content, like snippets from sermons or clips of worship services and, if they like what they hear, go and watch longer-form content of the respective church on YouTube and possibly visit the church in person. Like I said, everything has changed.
If you lead a church or ministry and are keen to devise a PR strategy and make use of modern forms of communication, here are some actions you can take to raise awareness of your church and its activities/projects, as well as connect with first-time visitors to your church and its members:
- When people visit your church for the first time, collect their email address and send them a welcome letter inviting them back. Don’t forget to get permission to add them to your e-mail list (following GDPR guidelines).
- Build a database comprising of church members and visitors, and use it to send out details of church events, activities, advertise for volunteers, etc.
- Create an e-newsletter, featuring articles of interest, and send to your mailing list.
- Open social media accounts (if your church hasn’t already done so) and use them to post inspirational content, members’ testimonies, ministry/church activities, and host online Bible studies.
- Aim to promote stories about your church in the media by regularly sending out press releases about key developments in your church/ministry.
- Use free online tools, like www.canva.com, to create attractive publicity materials. If you don’t have the time, use www.fiverr.com to get publicity materials designed inexpensively.
- Make short videos of your services/worship times and post them on social media.
- Devise a PR/marketing strategy, and regularly review and refine it.
May the Lord bless the work of your hands in 2024.
Marcia Dixon is Editor of Keep The Faith and Founder of MD PR. She regularly runs masterclasses on PR and marketing for churches and ministries. Visit www.marciadixonpr.co.uk