A church has so many duties, responsibilities, and keeping focus in the midst of a busy ministry is a task unto itself. We’ve been helping churches for over 10 years and have found 5 important church marketing questions that we ask our clients that help them to focus on the impact that their church is making.
Question 1: What Problem Do You Solve?
Let me rephrase the question, what problem does your church uniquely solve? When we ask this question, most churches initially respond by stating that they help solve the problem of “lostness”. While that is true for all churches, there is a unique problem that God has equipped your church to solve. It is a problem that is connected to the opportunities in your community, the gifting of your leadership, and the skills in your church body. The answer to this question is at the convergence of these passions, skills, and opportunities. There is a problem at the center of this that your church can rally around and solve. This will be your most effective avenue to solve the bigger problem of lostness and share the Gospel. This problem is also your church’s point of differentiation. It is what makes your church unique. While it shouldn’t be the only problem your church solves, it should be something that most people would know your church for and your most effective ministry.
Question 2: What Is Your Audience Looking For?
Most people are not looking for solutions to their spiritual problems. Because they don’t even know they have a spiritual problem. This is because they are so busy working to solve “other” problems in their life that they can’t see past those to their real need. In order to reach them for the Gospel we must first connect with them in a way they understand. They are looking for things to solve THEIR problems. This is part of knowing your “audience”. For a church this audience is the people in your community that could potentially come to your church. The question is what are they looking for/ what do they want? This is not a suggestion to build a completely seeker driven church, but rather to understand and acknowledge the needs of your community. If your church can meet them in their need with something they are looking for, you will position your church as a solution provider. This opens the door to meeting other needs and ultimately sharing the Gospel.
Question 3: How Do You Make People Feel?
As much as we would like to hope that people are motivated by reason and logic, most of the decisions we make are motivated by how we feel or want to feel. The emotions or emotional attachments we make with people, locations, brands, and activities drive us much more than we would like to admit. This question is a further exploration into understanding your audience. You need to know how you are making other people feel. There are 2 parts to this. 1. What feeling motivates them to seek you out? and 2. What feeling do they have when they’re done meeting with you? Both of these are very important. The first helps you understand and talk to the motivations people have, the second helps you understand people’s level of satisfaction. I’m sure you’ve been asked to fill out a survey that had questions designed to help a business determine the answer to these questions. This is important information that churches can use to connect to their audience better and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Question 4: What Does Success Look Like?
Unless you are a visionary, it is hard for many people to envision what their future will look like. Unfortunately, most pastors are visionary in nature and assume that people can picture things like they do. We have to be active about painting a clear picture of what happens when people engage with our church. This picture can be summarized in this question. This is also about setting the right expectations. While we would never want to over-promise and under-deliver, we should be sure of the results of what people can get with being involved in our church. How will it affect their marriage? Their family? Their life purpose, mission, or focus? Answering these questions helps people to envision what their life could be like and this is key to getting them to commit to the difficult task of discipleship. Jesus did this when he told his disciples they would become “fishers of men” in Matthew 4:19. This painted a picture of their future that motivated them to commit to him and see what might happen.
Question 5: How Are You Building Trust?
We would all agree that following Christ is a journey. Spiritual growth is a gradual process and doesn’t happen overnight. And often this growth happens under the guidance of a pastor or ministry leader. As spiritual leaders we have great influence over the lives of the people that God gives us. But getting people to truly listen to your teaching/preaching and take your advice requires building authority in their life. This cannot be done without building trust. Trust is something that is earned, not given. How are you building trust in your community, visitors, and congregation? This is something that much like a pulse, should be monitored and kept in check. If you lose trust, you lose authority and if you lose authority you lose the ability to minister. Nurturing people into a deeper relationship with God requires us to become trusted advisors. StoryBrand calls this person “The Guide”. But it all begins and ends with trust.
While these questions often provoke deep thought, they help us understand our churches and ministries from an external perspective. Having spent so much time in the church and in church marketing ourselves. we know how easy it can be to get stuck with an insider perspective. These questions can help reveal new opportunities to grow that can pay huge dividends in the future of your ministry.