Marketing Through Stories
What does your church have to offer? What is your product? Is it the events – worship experiences, classes, seminars, small groups? The resources – messages, books, videos? What are you really selling? What do people want and need from your church?
Our church’s website is more than 5 years old. It’s ancient and due for an upgrade. And before I started strategizing about a new site, I did what any self-respecting creative director would do – I started looking at other church websites.
After scouring a brain-numbing number of sites, I found that the level of design, hipness, and savvy-ness of most church websites nowadays are comparable to the best in mainstream businesses. Way to go church creatives!
I was inspired, energized and ready to add another slick and beautiful church site on the World Wide Web.
However, there was something I could not shake. I felt that the high level of design, content, and technological excellence didn’t adequately represent the magnitude of what we, the Church, have to offer.
So I began to think: What do people want and need from the church?
The people we serve and are trying to reach have situations and circumstances they are trying to overcome – sin, pain, despair, etc. They are searching for hope, purpose, change, and love. There is no power in the church’s man-made commodities – series artwork, music, videos, buildings, or even in the pastors. Only Jesus can fulfill those needs.
Revelation 12:11 says, “And they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
People’s testimony of God’s love and power empowers others to receive what they need.
The answer regarding our new site’s creative strategy lies in the compelling list of what we have to offer – salvation, life-change, hope, redemption, and spiritual growth through Jesus Christ. The two common denominators of that list are Jesus and people’s stories.
Our product is a story… a congregation full of testimonies with the power to reach more people for the Kingdom.
The new website of The Oaks Fellowship will be like any other church’s website. It will provide service times, directions, and give prospective attendees information about what to expect when they come. It will list and provide information about events and resources. It will have cool looking graphics too. But all of that will be packaged with stories.
Here’s one story we’ll feature on our preschool ministry page from a volunteer:
“People ask me why my wife and I volunteer for the preschool service, giving up half our Sunday every week.
But for me it’s not something I have to do. It’s something I want to do. It’s something I love to do.
Every week kids come up and we get to pray with them. Often they want to pray for things like snow or their cat. But one Sunday a 4-year-old girl came up and said, “I want God to love me.”
My heart broke: A 4-year-old girl not knowing that God loves her? That’s what we get to do. We share God’s love. We make sure a child doesn’t leave our service without knowing that God loves them.”
I’m excited about our new site. Instead of advertising our graphics, building, and worship style, we will be advertising our people and the stories of who they are and what God has done in their lives throughout our site.
We’re remembering our true product – the true product we sell. And we’re keeping that in the forefront of our minds. We are connecting real people, to real people, to the real God.
And that’s what our church has to offer. That’s what your church has to offer.