The Battle Is Raging
There’s a battle being waged in the world every day. The Enemy uses every trick he can to make temptation as … well … tempting … as he can. Think about it. The secular hip-hop culture celebrates the benefits of the “gangster” lifestyle. Advertising uses sex to sell. Hollywood subverts our morals and calls it “entertainment.”
The Enemy and his minions don’t show what the future holds for those who consistently follow his path. Instead, he inspires his instruments to Use images and words to Show how much fun those negative things are.
The battle goes on every minute of every day for the· souls of people around the world and around your hometown.
The Enemy knows he’s going to lose and that his time is short. Make no mistake. He will use every weapon in his arsenal to keep as many people as possible away from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
It’s time for you and your ministry to fight back.
To win this battle, ministries must deliver the message to the right people, at the right time, and in the right way.
You need the same weapons the Enemy is using – a strong brand. The difference is you’ll be using truth, love, and the saving message of Jesus Christ as your ammunition.
Just what is a brand anyway? Google®… Starbucks®… Nike®… Brands are all around us and they’re big parts of our lives. But what exactly is a brand and how can such a blatantly business-focused concept apply to a ministry?
When people hear the word “brand” they often think of an organization’s logo. The logo is a visual cue and reminds consumers that every time they choose that product or use that service, the result will be just as wonderful as it was the very first time.
But the word “brand” refers to much more than that.
(Your claims + People’s experience) x Word of mouth = Your Brand
No matter what an organization says, no matter what image they try to project, the organization needs to demonstrate who they say they are and deliver what they say they offer.
Successful organizations develop and maximize the use of their brand.
But does your ministry really need a strong brand?
Picture this: A person gets a job transfer. Before they move, they would like to find a good church in that new area. They Google® churches in that area and take a look at the website of each ministry. One website stands out – the church looks like they dress casually and provide solid Biblical teaching. They move to the new area. The next Sunday they attend that church for the first time; only to find out that everyone is dressed formally and the message did not even reference the Bible.
They feel uncomfortable and misled. Why? Because the ministry’s brand is out of alignment.
There are 3 big reasons why your ministry needs a strong brand:
1. Do a better job of communicating your message.
You’re competing against the Enemy and all those distractions people have today. You’ll lose the audience unless you understand how to communicate your message effectively. A clear brand allows you to communicate what you offer in an effective way, using key words and phrases so your audience feels you’re speaking directly to them.
2. Have an easier time making decisions
A clear brand provides the foundation that decisions are built on and helps minimize frustration at staff meetings.
People will still have different opinions but decision making is easier when you can recognize a choice as being “on brand” or “off brand.”
3. Win more souls and help people grow in Christ-likeness.
The absolute best part of a clear, strong brand is you are now on the offense as the Enemy becomes more aggressive at packaging his message.
And make no mistake – that’s being done even as you read this.
It’s in stores with more and more music labels warning of “explicit content” that seeps into the minds of teens. It’s in movie theaters as The Golden Compass tries to appeal to children and fool parents. It’s on the internet as people give in to their fantasies and the innocent walk into traps laid for them.
So what’s branding?
“Branding” describes the multi-layered process used to establish and communicate .the identity and personality of an organizaion, product, or service.
Branding isn’t merely a project you tackle once and then sit back and say “VVhew! That’s over.” It’s an ongoing effort to maintain, polish, and improve an overall brand and its messaging.
It’s crucial that the image and message remain meaningful to the current target audience while attracting new members (whether the audience consists of seekers to visit your crutch or participants in a specific ministry) who fit the target audience profile.
The challenge is to remain authentic to the essence of the organization.
How does your ministry build a strong brand?
You could find a company to create a logo for you, find someone else to design and update your website, and get marketing materials from yet another company. This requires that you search high and low for vendors to provide all these services and you investigate each one to make sure they’re the kind of company that understands your vision and mission.
This type of piece-meal approach won’t get you the kind of strong clear image you need to spread the message and grow your ministry.
In the back (or front) of your mind there’s always a concern for the cost. After all, as stewards of financial donations, you’ve got to use your funds wisely.
And yet, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is often so true.
You’ve got to get a website… You need a distinct logo… You’ve got to have marketing materials… You need communication tools… You need processes… You need help…
Where are you supposed to get all this stuff? What amount of research will you have to do? How many businesses will you have to track down?
Go to any conference for ministry leaders and you’ll discover there are plenty of companies out there offering any number of piece-meal products or services designed to help you brand and promote your ministry.
By Tony Morgan
Your church likely has a marketing strategy whether it’s the sign out front announcing the sermon for the week, or a full-color newspaper ad highlighting a sermon series or special event. While church leaders typically aren’t educated marketers, the church has the greatest message of all time-so avoid these common church marketing mistakes.
• Making promises you can/t keep-Don’t publicly invite people to a friendly environment and neglect to have greeters for your ministry, or say your nursery is secure only to have little ones escape through an open door at check-in.
• Promoting church rather than generating a response-Your community knows your church name and what your building looks like. Rather than a generic advertisement, promote a message such as “Helping kids experience God’s love” over a photo of your ministry in action.
• Competing with other churches-Everyone needs Jesus, but your ministry might not be the one to meet the need of the family down the street. God uses different ministries to reach different people-figure out who your target audience is and work to meet their needs.
• Competing with other church programs Check your master calendar and don’t overlap programs that draw similar audiences. If you have a family event planned the same weekend as a women’s retreat, you force families to choose, and both ministries will feel the hit.
This article “The Battle Is Raging” by Abiah is excerpted from their website and www.childrensministry.com/leaders.