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Market Your Parish

Market Your Parish

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Published by TheLivingChurchdocs
Church advertising is no more than evangelism in print.
Church advertising is no more than evangelism in print.

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Published by: TheLivingChurchdocs on Aug 28, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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By Jake Dell
entionadvertisingaroundChristiansand you’re sure to provoke a reaction. Sug-gestthatchurchesshouldmarkettocer-taintargetedsegmentsofthenationalpopulationand you’re starting to tread forbidden turf.But last May a group of 52 seminarians, vestrymembers, lay leaders and active clergy all gath-ered at the University of the South’s School of Theology to learn how to think more like fic-tional 1960s-era ad man Don Draper. Couldchurches learn anything from the golden age of advertising?TheChurchhasknownsomethingabouteffec-tive marketing and advertising for a long timenow.TheintroductiontotheGospelofLuke(1:1-4) has all the hallmarks of an effective product pitch: It casts doubt on the quality of the compe-tition, vouches for its own superiority by appeal-ing to eyewitness testimony, and offers a “satis-faction guarantee” based on Luke’s integrity. Albert Lasker, one of the greatest ad copy-writers of the past two centuries, championedthe idea that commercial advertising was “sales-manship in print.” In other words, the printedword could replace the door-to-door salesman.St. Luke knew as much. If Phillip could be soeffective a witness to the truth of Jesus Christduring his encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch,how many more people could be reached by a well-written advertisement for the truth?Church advertising is no more than evangel-ism in print.If advertising is salesmanship, then the greatad men of the 19th and 20th centuries concludedthat the only way to tell good advertising frombad was by sales figures; good advertising ben-efits the bottom line. On a similar note, good
advertising keeps bishops busy withconfirmations. Jesus sent the first disciples out in pairs to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God door-to-door, person-to-person. Later, the Churchadded epistles and gospels to its marketing mix.Still later, during the preaching revolution led bytheDominican and Franciscan friars,theChurch perfected the preaching model at scale.It wasn’t long before the Church adapted tothe disruptive new technology of the printing press and other forms of mass communicationto spread its message. Finally, it sent missionar-ies to nearly every inhabited corner of the globe.It’s a proud legacy that spans 2,000 years.In contrast, commercial advertising has onlybeen around for a little more than a century. But
THE LIVING CHURCH • September 9, 2012

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Don Metznik added this note
Well done, Jake. You hit all the right topics, and I see that you're a believer in Inbound Marketing. The question is, is anyone listening. Or, do vestries get it? Hope so.

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