Large, growing churches that are composed of multiple ministries offer a variety of opportunities for the people who attend them. It’s often what attracts people to them in the first place. But for the people who plan and lead church events within these ministries—whether you’re a paid staff or a volunteer—it presents a challenge for internally marketing your event in a church environment. Because just like the world outside of church life, people set priorities and make choices on where and how to spend their time. Even though your event has the noble intention of furthering their spiritual welfare, it doesn’t mean they’re going to automatically flock to it. Wow. Really shoots down the whole “I’m in the ministry to serve others” motivation doesn’t it? This means you not only have to persuade people to attend the event you’re planning for their own spiritual good, you have to make sure you’re marketing message stands out among the other church ministries. And now you’re beginning to ask yourself, “why am I doing this anyway?” Don’t despair. Here are 2 simple principles that will help you. • Know and speak realistically to your audience • Partner WITH other ministries rather than compete Know and Speak Realistically to your Audience In a large congregation there are many people with a variety of needs. So who exactly are you trying to reach? Is that target audience clear in your mind? Smaller churches tend to plan events with a general focus and for a general audience. But when you plan events in a large church setting, your events should be designed with a more specific purpose, audience and message in mind. And here’s the biggest mistake ministry leaders make when internally marketing church events. They assume that people in the congregation intuitively know the event is for their spiritual good and are therefore chomping at the bit to attend. NOT! I market to my church congregation exactly like I market to people outside the church as a marketing communications professional. I treat them as consumers. And consumers approach every opportunity with the attitude of what’s in it for them. So when you promote church events, write your message from the point of view of the reader. What will they gain from this? How will they benefit? Be concise and use bullet points. Especially if you have 30-50 words in a Sunday worship bulletin. Remember that your target audience may respond altruistically to a cause, but there still has to be something in it for them. An intrinsic benefit. So don’t recruit church ushers like this: We desperately need church ushers for our 9:30am and 10:30am church services. We need you to hand out bulletins, collect the offering and seat people. If interested, call the church office. That kind of announcement will probably interest no one. And notice the focus of this message is on what WE need. Get this through your head: Your audience doesn’t care about you. I know. They’re in church so you would expect them to care. At least a little. And maybe they do slightly. But more likely, they’re already mulling over their choices for lunch. So make your announcement positive, upbeat and focus on them with something like this: Sunday Ushers Do you like meeting new people? Enjoy helping others? Skilled in the art of friendly conversation? Here at First Church, church ushers serve on the front line and often make the first impression on guests. And we’d like it to be a great one! Is that you? Then join us as you… • Greet people at the worship center door • Help them find seats • Take up the offering Contact info@firstchurch.org with questions or for more information. Partner with Other Ministries Rather Than Compete As much as possible, I complement other ministry events. For example, I’ll plan a Men’s event to concur with a youth or children’s event. Then I encourage men to attend my event and take their kids to the children’s event. My marketing message positions them as the family hero. Give Mom a break. Take your kids to their ministry event at church and then you come to mine. I plan strategically to make the men’s event relevant to their stage of life. In other words, I specifically plan a theme or topic targeted to men in the general age range of fathers of children to generate practical interest. Because if they don’t see any value in the event I’m planning for them, the men won’t come. Family hero or not. Then I promote my marketing message through Men’s Ministry vehicles, Children’s Ministry vehicles, and Women’s Ministry vehicles. Yes, Women’s. Because women will often champion an event they believe will benefit their spouse and also presents something attractive to them—a night off from the kids. It benefits the Children’s ministry too. Because now, parents encourage their kid’s involvement. So the two events feed and support one another and present a win-win for everyone. There are other internal church marketing strategies and methods that will improve your church event attendance. Download my E-book Elements of Internal Church Marketing available on Amazon.com. It outlines a complete strategy to plan purposefully, market successfully and produce quality church events that attract participants and make a spiritual impact. And if you work with new believers in the Christian faith or perhaps agnostics that want to intellectually explore Christianity, I’d recommend my E-book, Christianity for the Average Joe also available on Amazon. It’s a simple, conversational explanation of Christianity’s main concepts for those seeking a better understanding of its basic belief system. About Chip Tudor Chip Tudor is a freelance copywriter, author, playwright and pastor. www.chiptudor.com

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