Empowered Like Gutenberg

But I’m just a Pastor. I know that is what you are saying but whether you like it or not you are in markeEmpowermentting. Marketing is the term used to describe how someone promotes a thing. As Pastors and church leaders you are promoting, Yourself, Your church, and the Gospel! The Word says that we are to go forth and spread the gospel into every nation and God has already provided you a means to do so!!

I have just read one of the most important books any business owner or ministry staff should have. It’s called The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. (Click HERE to purchase) Here is an excerpt from The New PR Rules:

“In fact, one of my all-time favorite examples of success with the New Rules of Marketing and PR comes from an unlikely marketer: the pastor of a church in Washington, D.C. But his isn’t a typical church because he doesn’t actually have a church building. Instead he uses video technology, blogs, podcasts, and the Web to tell stories and build a spiritual community both on- and offline.

“The church should be using technology to reach a person; that’s what Gutenberg did in the fifteenth century with the printing press,” says Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church (also known as http://www.TheaterChurch.com ), a multisite church in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area that conducts five services per week in three nontraditional locations. “Most churches have a church building, but we feel that a building can be an obstacle to some people, so we do church in theaters and have built the largest coffee house in the Washington, D.C. area.”

What distinguishes National Community Church is Batterson’s approach of embracing technology and Web marketing and applying it to church. The TheaterChurch.com site includes a content-rich web site, podcasts of the weekly services, a motivational Webcast series, video, an email newsletter, Batterson’s extremely popular Evotional blog (www.evotional.com tagline: “Spirit Fuel”), and Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/MarkBatterson ). “The greatest message deserves the greatest marketing,” Batterson says. “I am challenged that Madison Avenue and Hollywood are so smart at delivering messages. But I believe that we need to be just as smart about how we deliver our messages.”

Attendance at national Community church exceeds 1,000 adults in an average weekend; 70 percent of them are single people in their twenties. “I think we attract twenty-somethings. Our two key values are authenticity and creativity. That plays itself out in the way we do church. I think that church should be the most creative place on the planet. The Medieval church had stained glass to tell the gospel story to the churchgoers, who were mostly illiterate. We use the movie studio to tell the story to people. We use video to add color and to add flavor to what we do. If Jesus had video in his day, it wouldn’t surprise me if he made short films,” says Batterson.

Batterson’s focus on the website, podcast, and online video (as well as video at the services) means that National Community Church staff members have some unique job titles, including “media pastor,” “digital pastor,” and “buzz coordinator.” “We want to use technology for really good purposes,” Batterson says. “Our website and my blog are our front door to National Community Church. The site is a virtual location in a sense. We have a lot more people who listen to the podcast and watch the webcast than who go to the services, so it is a great test drive for people. They can get a sense of the church before they arrive physically.”

Batterson’s enthusiasm for how churches can use the Web has caught the attention of thousands of other church leaders who follow his blog. “The two most powerful forms of marketing are word of mouth and what I call word of mouse. A guy named John Wesley, who founded the Methodist church, traveled 250,000 miles on horseback and preached something like 40,000 sermons. With one click of the mouse, I preach that my sermons with my podcast-that’s word of mouse. It is about leveraging the unique vehicles on the Web. The message has not changed, but the medium has changed. We need to continually find new vehicles to get the messages out.”

You have the power. It is in your hands! Don’t get overwhelmed by all the digital media Batterson is using. It took him time to grow and it will take you some time also, but start somewhere! Take that first step in using technology and next thing you know you will be growing, increasing members and their retention, and seeing other benefits from it. You will begin to wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!!

If you have any questions or need some help getting started email me at: abinkley@efaithondemand.com

I would love to help you out!!

~Ali Binkley

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