I have reading Your Marketing Sucks by Mark Stevens this week. Stevens uses this book to discuss his idea of Extreme Marketing. The book begins as Stevens discuss how many companies waste their money on marketing with no goal or metric to measure the success of the marketing. I have blogged before about metrics and as the marketing director and web administrator at Arrow Heights I can attest to how our new web site and blogs are mentioned by countless people as the reason why they are visiting our church. The second chapter deals with what is called closing in the sales world. "Nothing really happens until a sale is made," is the mantra that gets repeated throughout the book. It reminds me of the speech Alec Baldwin gives in Glengarry Glen Ross where he says, "Coffee is for closers." …………I am sorry I got lost watching that clip on YouTube for a minute. So how do you measure marketing for a church and what exactly does it mean to close. You can’t sell the Gospel. It is not for sale. Only God can can work in a man’s heart to bring him to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I can measure how effective an ad was. I can measure how many people are visiting our web site. I can ask people to tell me how they heard about our church. A few things that I am taking away from the first half of the book is the need to align leadership with the marketing. The fourth chapter was about making a spectacle of yourself or company. The book came recommended by Seth Godin and I would have to say Godin’s book Purple Cow is a great read on making your organization stand out in a crowd. In Tulsa the density of churches is incredible. You have heard it said that there is a church on every corner, well at 101st and Elm there are 3 churches on the corner. So many churches. I don’t think there is a need to stand out in a crowd of churches for the sake of the churched. There are so many great churches in our area ministering to the saved that you have a great chance of finding a good church. My goal is to help Arrow Heights stand out as a church that cares for and ministers the unchurched. Steve Furtnick says Elevation church is all about the numbers. The number of lives changed. The number of addictions broken. The number of marriages healed. I think that if we are going to see amazing transformation in the lives of people who are far from God then we had better start opening lines of communication with people who are far from God.
How can we keep our marketing from sucking? We can create synergy through alignment. When I think of what closing for the church means I am reminded of this passage of scripture from 1 Corinthians 3:
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
I am only a servant of God and my job is to plants seeds. We are all responsible for watering those seeds, but God is the one who makes it grow. This is why Arrow Heights is "developing" authentic disciples and not "creating" them. God creates them and He has given us the tools and resources needed to develop them. Marketing is planting and the most fertile field for me looks very different than you may think. Fertile ground for me is a place where there are people who are far from God. People who don’t know God. People who don’t know why they are far from God. That is the fertile soil that must be worked. Will you work with me? Will you help plant? Will you take these seeds to fertile soil?