Advertising Your Church

Foster Louis



Direct Mail is yet another way of church advertising. Circulars disbursed in key areas will produce surprising results. Direct mail can be pinpointed to the areas that you want to reach.

It can put a postage-paid reply card in your prospect’s hands. It induces action. You can control timing and quantity mailed. It is possible to increase and decrease your mailings depending upon results. The broadest objective of a direct mailing is to build greater awareness in your area of your particular church.

In a direct mail piece, you can offer free literature if they will respond. In this matter, it is possible to stimulate the beginning of a dialogue between you and a prospective member.

By offering free literature your prospect is drawn to the church, but does not feel the pressures of a definite commitment. You can mail him the requested literature…he reads it in the privacy of his own home… and then he can respond at his own pace.

Direct mail advertising is advertising in which the advertiser acts as his own publisher.

A. He produces his own “publication” rather than renting space in an existing one.

B. He selects his own prospects.

C. He sends copies of his publication directly to them.

Three advantages over other media are:

(1) It is selective. An advertiser can rent or build a mailing list covering the most specialized kind of an audience. The advertiser completely controls the date of issue.

(2) It is personal. A plain wrapper can help maintain privacy. The contents can be made to look like a regular letter. When he gets it, the prospect is not distracted by competing advertisements.

(3) It is flexible. Format possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the designer and perhaps the budget of the advertiser. A so, it can be designed to fit the personality of the local church.

There are many places where one can obtain information on a direct mail program. One Midwestern company which can be of service is:

Direct Mail Corp. of America
1533 Washington Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: (314) 436-1122



Outdoor advertising can be a great reminder to the people of your city that your church has something to offer them. Pedestrians and motorists alike will be able to glean its information offered with a mere glance. An outdoor billboard is big, colorful and can be well-designed.

Standardized posters come in these sizes and styles:

(1) The panel poster – The client can choose the 24-sheet poster, with a copy size of 19’6″ wide by 8’8″ deep; the 30-sheet poster, with copy size of 21’7″ X 9’7″ (25 percent more display area); or the bleed poster, with a copy size of 22’8″ X 10’5″ (40 percent more display area).

(2) The painted display – Painted bulletins used to come in a variety of sizes, but now the 48′ X 14′ is almost standard. These are large, colorful, always lighted and sometimes three-dimensional. The painted bulletin offers the designer great flexibility in techniques and construction. One innovation is to use vertical triangular panels which can be turned continuously to reveal three different pictures.

(3) The electric sign – This is a huge, complicated and painted display. It is permanent or near permanent, making use of moving parts and unusual lighting effects.

Renting the outdoor panels for a month varies from less than $100.00 to several thousand dollars.



There are basic rules to remember when designing to a good billboard. A billboard differs from other forms of advertisement in two important aspects: The audience sees the advertisement while on the move, and
the audience sees the advertisement from a distance. Because of these two factors, the billboard must be simple, strong, and clear.

(1) Confine the number of elements in the ad to no more than two or three. If you choose to use three elements, they will probably include a painting or photograph of the subject, a headline and some
background. If you should show background, keep it uncluttered.

(2) Keep the number of words to a minimum; to three, four or five– never any more than nine or ten. It has been pointed out that the poster idea must register within six seconds.

(3) Make sure the illustration is big enough. It is not always necessary to show the product (church building or Bible, etc.) in its entirety. If need, the picture can be cropped. It should usually be shown in full color.

(4) Make sure the art is related to the headline.

(5) For the headline, use a solid, medium or bold type, preferably a sans serif. The words must be readily seen from a distance away.

(6) Use color boldly. Cover large areas with flat color, For most jobs, choose bright primary colors rather than pastel shades. Be sure to use colors which will achieve the greatest possible contrast.

(7) Make sure church address is clearly identified.

(8) Develop the poster around a central theme. A single point to the reader is all you can hope for. Here are some possible approaches.

a. Make a claim; state it or imply it.

b. Offer some news or a scripture.

c. Remind the traveler to attend church.

d. Suggest something different about your services.

e. Make a comparison.

(9) Remember to always personally view the billboard location.



Newspapers reach a broad cross section of the local community. They allow you to illustrate your individual message and give some detail about your business. Location within the paper helps determine who will read the ad.

Sometimes the coverage of a single newspaper is too broad. In densely populated areas with many churches of the same type, it may be best to advertise in a county journal, shopper’s guide, etc.

Place ads in local newspapers, throw-away papers, and high school and college papers. Also, place ads in community magazines and literature distributed by the Chamber of Commerce and other local groups.

If possible, place ads on the entertainment page, sports page, comic page or other high interest sections of your newspaper.

Whatever decision you may make, do not fit the ad to your budget. Instead decide how much information you want to present and the space needed to adequately say it. The effectiveness of an ad does not
necessarily increase or decrease by enlarging or reducing it.

Ads should be strong and designed in a series to build and gain results over a specified period of time. They should not be the stereo typed church page ad that gets a ho-hum reaction.

The ad should offer something. . . a name personality, or a special attraction. Advertising must be a vehicle to reach the unsaved, unchurched community.

Get them to church through advertising and then place your faith in the Holy Spirit to complete the work.

For newspaper purposes, the pastor should always have a good glossy print of himself and a biographical sketch available. Occasionally release the photo and some of the biographical information, especially
if some kind of award comes to your church. The sketch should include:

A. The minister’s full name F. Books he has written

B. Place of birth G. Achievements

C. Names of children H. Honors received

D. Wife’s name I. Pastorates held

E. Schools and colleges attended

In most daily newspapers, especially in the Sunday edition, there will be a special religious section. The religious editor will be interested in religious projects of interest to the community of the church as a whole. Other times a religious article with a human interest in religious projects of interest to the community of the church as a whole. Other times a religious article with a human interest story will be used during the week. Always make friends with the religious editor.



Most newspapers prefer that you simply submit the facts. With some newspapers there is not reason to write an article. If you do, chances are it will be rewritten anyway to conform to the newspapers style.

Below are six basic steps for preparing information for your local newspaper:

(1) Type all information double-spaced. If you don’t have a typewriter, write or print legibly with space between each line.

(2) Include answers to: Who, what, when, where, why, and how.

(3) Label photos, using a soft-tip pen and do not use a pencil or ball point pen. If you want them returned enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

(4) Include your name and telephone number in case you are needed for further information.

(5) Send your information well in advance of the event.

(6) Don’t expect the editors to print everything you submit. Express a simple thank-you when something is used.



* At least one inch should be allowed for margins on both the left and right sides.

* Don’t carry a paragraph over from one page to another.

* Place the word “more” at the bottom of a page if copy continues to the next page.

* Number pages and place an identifying word or phrase at the to of each page.

* Clearly indicate the end of your copy.

* Show where copy is to go in layout by markings such as “Copy A” or “Caption 1;” duplicating such markings on the layout.



Research on any subject (up to four hours’ worth) is available free from the Library of Congress. They will supply additional information sources on your topic:

Contact: Reference Section
Science and Technology Division
Library of Congress
10 First Street, S.E.
Washington, D.D. 20540
Phone: (202) 426-5580



Advertising agencies can be of special help to a larger church who can afford their services.

An ad agency has nothing to sell but time. One with superior talent will sell its time more dearly than an agency with average talent. There is no such thing as a “product” in their business, and certainly not any “inventory”. An hour not charged is still an hour the agency pays for. With time as the commodity, the agency keeps accurate track of it. Every person on the staff, from typist to creative director, logs every quarter hour spent on a client’s behalf. In many agencies, even the account executive keeps tract of who gets pieces of his time and how much.

When dealing with an ad agency do one of two things:

1. Tell the agency what the budget is and let them tailor their effort with that in mind.

2. Tell the agency to set a price on the work you want it to do and then accept, reject, or adjust it.

Either way, the agency should be told what the budget is and then be required to live within it.

Some people try to enlist the biggest agency matter of prestige, it can be costly! As a rule, the right size agency is the smallest one that can properly handle your account in terms of your budget and volume of work required.



A few possible items to consider are as follows:


1. Pastoral name cards

2. Letterhead and matching envelopes

3. Church bulletin or newsletter

4. Pastoral letter to visitors

5. Visitors cards

6. Custom-made offering envelopes imprinted

7. Calendars

8. Radio

9. Direct Mail

10. Display

11. Street Signs

12. Yellow pages of the telephone directory

13. Outdoor advertising

14. Booklets

15. Brochure

16. Inserts in local newspapers

17. Invitations

18. Bumper stickers

19. Pamphlets

20. Questionnaire

21. Posters

22. Self-mailer

23. Circular

24. News release

25. Lapel button

26. Post cards

27. Personalized letters

28. Word of mouth

29. Telephone

30. Newspaper

31. Sign on the back of taxis

32. Posters on the sides of a bus


Christian Information Network