There’s no getting around it, despite the efforts of many to teach, rebuke, correct & train in righteous web design, there still exists a great cloud of witlessness when it comes to the Church’s presence online. A fact painfully corroborated by the persistent body of â€˜kitschâ€˜ out there that distracts, annoys and otherwise drives-away people seeking and/or serving the Lord.
WHOOOOSH – flame on!
I should know, as I’ve been engaged in mental combat with these forces of evil web design idioms since the turn of the new Millennium, first in collaborating with Vincent Flanders on his second book, an act which lead to the eventually May 2002 establishment of Heal Your Church Website.
But enough of my credentials, lest I start this post start sounding like a Pauline epistle, though I should probably mention that I do the software as a service thing for a living … but that’s plenty about me, as others equally qualified have since dashed headlong into the breach.
This would include Cory Miller and James Dalman at Church Communications Pro (CCP), the latter of whom begged the all important question: “Is Church marketing dead?” Specifically, pondering aloud:
There is something going on but I quite canâ€™t put my finger on it. Itâ€™s a gut feeling thatâ€™s right more often than not. I think the church landscape is drastically changing and that church as we know it now is going to evolve (no, I am not supporting Darwin) into something much different. Itâ€™s just a hypothesis or idea Iâ€™m working on, whatever thatâ€™s worth.
To which my response is: “James, let me save you a few steps. Church marketing isn’t dead, it’s just stuck on stupid!”
If that weren’t the case, why would sites and services such as CCP, Church Marketing Sucks, For God’s Sake Shut Up, and a handful of others continue to, and with apologies to Vincent Flanders, offer weekly lessons in good church marketing by looking at examples of bad church marketing?
I mean, how many examples of church websites adorned with the clichÃ© gold lamÃ© animated gif of a spinning cross that screams â€œeverything I know about website design I learned from Strong Bad!â€œ do we need to ‘Fisk‘ to make our point?
Or on a more serious note, how many of us seen all to many unique local churches dive through the porpoise-driven hoops of Warren-ology just to become different like everyone else?
And that’s really my point, it’s not that church marketing is dead, it is that we’re stuck on driving down the wide and easy path to church marketing, rather than seek out a difficult path that includes:
- Studying Scripture to see where marketing and evangelism intersect;
- Teaching lay staff and church on what real marketing is and how it works;
- Understanding that the Church didn’t start in 2000, but rather 2000 years ago;
- Putting aside the need to agree 100% with everyone 100% of the time;
- Initiating marketing teams as opposed the message controlled at a single point;
- Daring to be different without amputating one’s self from the Body.
Look, we have centuries of beautiful sacred songs, art and literature as the result of the artistry that was once the Churchâ€™s â€¦ why canâ€™t we have the same for church marketing in the 21st century?”
Or put another way, Franky Schaeffer was right when he asserted that Christians are no longer influencing society through various forms of media, but are instead influenced BY it. A neat trick when you think Francis Shaefferâ€™s son warned us about this as far back as 1981!
WHOOOOSH – flame off!
Oh, and before I forget, to my Eastern Orthodox friends … a belated Î§ÏÎ¹ÏƒÏ„ÏŒÏ‚ Î‘Î½ÎÏƒÏ„Î·!