“Marketing” Kids Church ….REALLY??
Is “Marketing” an aspect we should look at in terms of Kids Ministry today? To some, it may sound too much of a professional level for a Sunday School teacher to embrace, much less implement. However, Marketing, to some degree, may be very suitable in the Lords Business of Kids Ministry today.
If you realize it or not, you probably are already performing, to some degree, a level of marketing for your Sunday School. The church already has a common ground with marketing….focus on this: OUTREACH is a method of MARKETING. The problem is, we let a big corporate word, like marketing, intimidate us. We encapsulate that term with the business realm and refuse to let it loose the Lord’s business. Six or half a dozen, either way, it’s the same.
You might think that major companies may not label marketing as outreach but they do. No matter where it’s coming from and for what the purpose, both the business world and the church have a product that needs promoted. They want to sell it, the church wants to share it. With the dollar as the bottom line removed from this equation, let’s focus on using some professional tactics to win souls. If you find it offensive or out of line, well….OK…but it don’t change the fact that when you create methods to grab the attention of new kids to Sunday School, you are in fact marketing for their business. You just need to get over the business terminology…..you might just be too spiritual for any earthly good.
Now let’s MARKET for souls!
Just like Toys-R-Us commercialize their products to gain the kids attention and the business of their parents, we have always tried to ‘grab the kids attention’ in order to get them to simply come to our church…. that in itself is an element of marketing. In reality, for those who actively work on building their kids church, you are marketing whether you accept it or not. So since your foot is already in the field, why not take it to the next level? Work this like corporate professionals do. Your working for the Kingdom, are you not? Do you not think that the Master wants us to be efficient managers in our calling? I’d like to remind you of the Master who gave talents to three of his servants. So, you gonna be the loser who gets fired from his job for not using his ability or will you see the potential? He has placed it in your hands.
Prayer is only the beginning of building a kids church….just like the adult side of building a church, it takes a connection to people to grab the attention of both adults and children.
What about that ‘next level’ I mentioned? The level beyond ‘grabbing their attention’, is what I refer to. Many of us have seen a decline in kids church because we stopped progressing once we grabbed their attention. You just cut yourself way too short!
Within professional marketing, grabbing the attention of a customer is just a first step. Maintaining that attention is where the work really kicks in! Yes, I said that nasty 4 letter word: WORK!
If you have grabbed their attention, great! Now, let’s keep their attention and attendance.
Let’s first look at Marketing in itself. It seeks to satisfy the needs of the people (customers). Its process creates a sense of usefulness to the customer. Our customer, in this instance, would be the unchurched bus kid.
In business terms, marketing involves several activities in the transfer of goods from the producer to the buyer. In outreach terms, the church serves a God that wants us to share His goods to those who are without Truth.
Marketing is a social science. The church can use social media as a tool to market testimonies along with their church perks. I think we already have that ongoing.
Companies connect their product via marketing. The Sunday School connects God to children. Both are creating an transaction.
Technology Transforms Marketing.
In the good ole’ days, business marketing was done by door to door salesmen. It’s no longer like that. However,…. we still perform the same method. Todays business world takes advantage along with great strides of achievement by using a bombardment of media formats.
I often ask myself, “Why is the Church refraining from using such a powerful tool?” Grant it, many are using it. Technology is part of life now. Accept it. Get out of your cave and deal with it.
From a soapbox opinion, the same people who shun, despise and disregard the tool of technology may very well be the same people who will welcome and EMP bomb to blow us all back into the 1800’s in one second. *static*
As for the rest of us, we’ll continue to use technology and the methods of marketing as effective tools in building a Kids Church. The bullet points of a business marketing and the church parallels are the following:
1. Product: Soap – Truth (…buy the truth, sell it not)
2. Place: Supermarket – Church (…upon this rock I will build my church)
3. Promotion: Advertisement – Outreach (…to whomsoever will)
4. Price: $3.00 – Free (…and the truth shall make you free)
As you can see, we already have the formula to market. Get over the business terminology and implement the formula. It works. Ask Procter and Gamble.
Marketing can take a message and turn it into an experience.
So how are we marketing or how can we?
Many Kids Ministries use their church website as the base for promoting the children’s ministry, which is certainly the best place to start but is probably not viewed by as many in comparison to those who have created a Kids Church Facebook Group Page that actively uses it. Actively….uses it. Posting events once a month doesn’t keep the pot stirred. I know of about two local kids ministries now that consistently post on Facebook, their events and schedules. That’s keeping it fresh!
Riding piggy-back on the main church Facebook Page is another option but again, active is the key function.
Some kids ministries even have their own web site, the same applies. If it’s not promoted and people don’t see something constantly moving and shaking, that will reflect on the kids church in itself. People need to see the movement. Running water carries things. Still water collects dross.
Marketing in social media, if anything, can produce a strong testimony of what is going on. Any good news you post….is good news! Don’t gripe and post negative reflections in your marketing. Regardless of the outcome of any event or a weekly service, the report should mirror a positive image. In the stream of consistent marketing, filtered water runs faster and draws more thirsty people to it.
Pay close attention to the fact that some churches out there actually have Social Media Staff (volunteer or paid). That’s all they do. Market through social media for all ministries. Your Kids Church needs to scout someone who will commit to marketing for children’s ministry in your assembly.
Post pictures, video, reports, quotes, scriptures….anything, just get busy and stay busy. Even though the kids may not always see this, adults and parents are. Most of us have unsaved friends and family on Facebook, exposing your churches kids ministry on your Timeline where they can see it….? DUH!
With all the professional online printing services available and the resource to create your own at home, there should never be a shortage of good reliable print media. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to drag some images and type a text that will attract the eye of a kid somewhere. Kids can spot that stack of ‘Free Circus Tickets’ on the Taco Bell counter a mile away. Ever think about staging a ‘free ticket’ stand to announce an upcoming kids revival or VBS? Hey! You can even make customized pro comic teaching curriculum online and print in comic book form today!
Sure enough, todays technology has created somewhat of a personal bubble among us more than ever. Coupled with the protective families and ‘stranger danger’ mentality, one-on-one outreach can be challenging but is not a lost nor inactive art. We’ve created alternate means of communication and it tends to dumb some of our personal face to face time (not to be confused with Face Time).
Our challenge today is to learn the new methods of marketing while maintaining the old ones as well. There are always news paths ahead of us and the old paths are still behind us.
The encouraging thought that we can take marketing skills and effectively use them for the glory and building of God’s Kingdom should be something that energizes us to reach the more. Personally, I can’t wait to see what the next snazzy techno tool will be! Kids will most likely be using it to play a game but I’ll use it to lead them to Jesus.
Not enough time to drop some stats on marketing and the future it holds not only for the business world but for your Kids Ministry. The Master has given us many talents, let’s work with what we’ve got.
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The above article, “”Marketing” Kids Church…Really??” is written by R. MOcaby. The article was excerpted from: www.ThePool.name web site. December 2013.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.