Guest Column: Spreading the Gospel by Making the Medium the Message

By Janil Jean

A church executive who markets well is an executive whose church is alive and well.

This is because that man or woman understands that few symbols are as simple yet sacred as a cross; that person understands what a cross means by way of where a cross stands, be it atop the ground — where the dead rest in peace — or atop a steeple in which it is visible for miles as a home for the lost and a house of many mansions for all who seek the way, the truth and the life. A church executive who invests his or her faith in the cross should also invest funds in marketing the cross.

To say so, never mind to do so, is neither a statement of heresy nor an act of blasphemy. In fact, it is sound advice, because a church cannot attract members if it has no materials to market. It cannot market its services, including its Sunday service, if no one knows about its services; or the passion of its pastor; or the power of its parson; or the promise of the words from the world’s singular — and everlasting — preacher.

The Bible tells the tale, yes, but it is a church executive’s responsibility to tell the people why they should read the psalms and sing the songs inside his church. It takes marketing to have them fill the rows, take their seats, join the choir and stand on stage; it takes a church branding campaign that is as stylish as it is substantive.

How else can a church feed the hungry and care for the sick if no one knows relief is available and release is possible? How else can the blind see and the wretched save themselves if they do not know a sanctuary exists where they can transcend the pecuniary cares of this world by learning of the spiritual wealth that awaits them in the world to come? How else can they work to repair their world if they do not know they have a leader to guide them and a theology to guard them from harm?

Marketing may not be the precise word to describe these things, but it is the best approximation of what these things are.

Therefore, it is smart for a church executive to have something tangible for people to read: pamphlets or brochures for them to review about your church so they can choose wisely, worship freely and welcome others warmly.

Is it not important to do so, given what we know about many of the nation’s best colleges and universities, whose origins belong to the cross and whose buildings bear the cross? Do these schools not market themselves to potential students by extolling the values of the cross? Do these schools not exalt a king like no other and a prince like no other proponent of peace?

We should support church executives who value marketing. We should support marketing that distinguishes a church and helps others to distinguish what makes a specific church a place of distinction.

We should support these things, not because they are glamorous, but because they support the glory of the Lord.

His truth is marching on.

Janil Jean is the director of overseas operations for

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Church Executive Magazine.




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