I've been working in the marketing industry for about 10 years. Coincidentally, I've also been a member of the Church for 10 years. As someone who did not come from a Christian upbringing or background, I've also felt the burden of trying to find ways to invite people into experiencing the good things that I've come to know as a Christian (I.E. the love of God). As I’ve learned and grown in maturity in both of those aspects of my life, I’ve become more and more aware of how much my understanding of marketing and communication informs my passion for evangelization and vice versa.
Effective communication is the art capturing an audience, delivering a message to them, and persuading them to respond to that message. As I've come to understand that more explicitly, I've been struck by how much this aligns with the mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is probably best summarized by the great commission which Jesus gave to her in Matt. 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15. He told us to go and proclaim the kingdom of God (which is Jesus) and to make disciples by baptising them. Now, obviously the task of evangelization and seeking the conversion of non Christians is a work of God through his Holy Spirit, so there's a fundamentally supernatural element to this, but in practical terms, as it applies to our role as labourers in that mission, the task is almost exactly the same as the task of communication. Before you can baptize someone, you have to convince them of the authenticity of the Christian message. In order to convince them, you have to capture their attention and communicate the gospel to them.
So in a very practical sense, the mission of the Church can be described in the same terms as one of the fundamental aims of marketing strategy.
So in a very practical sense, the mission of the Church can be described in the same terms as one of the fundamental aims of marketing strategy. If this is true, then it should be safe to assume that the Church has a capable roster of communication experts at every level of leadership. As a communication expert, I'm sorry to report that this is far from true. In fact, we don't seem to show much of an appreciation for this at all and if I'm blunt about the current state of things, we’re actually way behind the curve on this.
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My own Church spends little to no time in planning and strategizing the delivery of our message (the Gospel) to the unconverted. By contrast, we spend a lot of time talking about finances, building maintenance, events and community building that serve the needs of existing members exclusively. None of those things, on their own, are what compose the mission of the Church if they are isolated from the fundamental task of communicating Christ to the world.
So what should we do? We should start by showing a better appreciation for this fact and then, by aligning our priorities with it. If leadership of any individual church is meeting to discuss church activities and this fundamental mission and how we carry it out are not on the agenda, we need to supplant whatever is taking priority over it. If we don't already have robust strategic communication plans in place, we need to start working towards that goal. If we aren't allocating our resources, volunteers, and money towards this goal, we need to start, immediately. A thing is best understood within the context of its purpose. If it is serving something other than its purpose, then that is a sure indication that it is being misused. The Church’s purpose is to proclaim Christ to the world. If we’re not doing that can we truly be described as the Church?