Will Mancini, chief vision consultant and founder of Auxano church-consulting group, answers the question, “How can a church raise its visibility in the community?”
A church must ultimately rely on its people to raise awareness in the community.
In the primary research that Auxano has conducted over the years, we have found that 5 to 20 percent of a church’s congregation came for the first time because of something to do with the organization. They saw a sign, checked out a website, heard of a program, etc. The much larger percentage came because a friend invited them or actually picked them up to take them to church. In the end, programs don’t attract people; people attract people.
My emphasis on people could be an oversimplification. I don’t want to do that. Rather, I want to warn you about over-relying on an “organizational leverage point” only. If you want to move a boulder you have to find the longest, strongest lever—like a long skinny tree trunk—and get it in just the right place to get that large rock moving. People are always the point of leverage and we must not miss that.
So how do you better utilize your people to build awareness? The key is looking at all of the classic approaches to branding and marketing as well as current communication trends, through the lens of people. How does our marketing support lifestyle evangelism, missional living and word-of-mouth promotion? If you keep this question on the table, you will move lots of boulders and gain lots of momentum when it comes to community awareness.
For example, I have been involved in church logo and brand development for the past 15 years. I love helping a church communicate its unique vision visually. But it doesn’t matter than much if the people don’t use it. Has the congregation been told how to use the logo as a story-telling tool? One of my favorite things to do when a church creates a new logo is to hand out car window sticker “bugs” of the church’s mark. That gives everyone a chance to show their connection to your church community.
Raising awareness through people is the golden rule of influence. It doesn’t excuse active learning and utilization of communication trends like social media. Your church should have a Twitter account. But it is all too easy to rely on strategies to build awareness that don’t utilize your people. How well are you engaging your congregation to follow, dialogue with, favorite and retweet your church’s Twitter feed. Ultimately, people must be your strategy. Men and woman must be your method.