I’m a lifelong believer, but I’m also a marketer. So when I was approached by my church leadership about doing some marketing for them, I had to ask myself a question: Should churches bother with marketing? The answer is yes! But only if we do it right. Here are five reasons why your church should think strategically about how to use marketing to reach people:

The church has historically had an unsteady relationship with marketing.

You’ve probably heard the story about how early Christians were told to “love their neighbor” and “turn the other cheek.” The early church embraced those principles without seeing any need for marketing. But then along came Constantine, who saw an opportunity to increase his power by giving people what they wanted: forgiveness from their sins and a promise of eternal life. By appealing to our carnal desires and material wants, he was able to spread Christianity across Europe and gain followers—including those who weren’t previously interested in religion.

The next big marketing breakthrough came during the Reformation period when Martin Luther used his printing press and printer’s ink to spread his ideas about salvation through faith alone (that is, without having performed good works or earned it). This message appealed especially well with peasants who didn’t have much money but did have plenty of religious fervor—or so it seemed at first glance until Germany was plagued with religious wars between Protestants and Catholics over whether salvation could come through good works as well as faith alone!

If churches aren’t careful, they can accidentally fall into a ‘transaction’ mindset when it comes to outreach.

The most important thing to understand about the “transaction” mindset is that it’s not about you. It’s about making sure the people you’re trying to reach are aware of everything you have to offer them.

If a church has a transaction mindset, they’ll see their congregation as a group of potential customers. They’ll think of outreach as an opportunity for their church’s name or message to get out there, even if that means sending marketing messages directly through people’s inboxes or posting ads on social media platforms—even if those platforms aren’t exactly known for being safe places for religious content (looking at you, Facebook!).

This focus on numbers and short-term results over quality relationships can be harmful in many ways:

  • It might cause churches who have this kind of approach with marketing tactics to overlook those who come from different backgrounds and cultures than theirs because they don’t think these groups will be interested in what they have to offer (e.g., “They probably don’t care about our music ministry”).
  • It might cause churches who use these kinds of tactics without thinking critically enough about how they’re framing their outreach message as well as how they’re implementing it (e.g., with no regard for how much time/money/effort goes into producing something like this).

Churches can benefit from thinking about what motivates people to come to church in the first place and why they return.

Marketing is a tool, but churches can benefit from thinking about what motivates people to come to church in the first place and why they return. People are more likely to return to a place that provides them with a sense of belonging, purpose and hope.

When we think about marketing our church, let’s consider this question: What if we don’t need marketing?

The Bible is full of stories that communicate God’s love for all of humanity.

God’s love is not limited to a specific group of people. God loves everyone, and wants everyone to be saved. His love isn’t limited by our circumstances, either—God loves us all regardless of who we are or what we have done in the past. And finally, God’s love isn’t limited by our actions—even if we are immoral or unkind people who have hurt others in some way, He is still willing to show us mercy and grace if we turn away from those sins and ask for forgiveness (1 John 1:7).

I hope this helps you see that when you talk about marketing your church with the goal of reaching “people who don’t know Jesus yet,” you may be excluding some potential new members simply based on their religious identity or lack thereof! Instead of focusing on externalities like where someone goes to church or what they believe, focus instead on sharing stories from The Bible that communicate God’s love for all humanity; after all, these messages have been told already many times over throughout history—and I’m sure there will continue being told until eternity ends…

Marketing is not inherently bad and churches should feel free to consider how it might be used strategically and with integrity.

Marketing is not inherently bad and churches should feel free to consider how it might be used strategically and with integrity.

What is the difference between marketing and advertising?

Marketing is a way of communicating the value of your church to potential customers, donors or volunteers in order to attract them towards your cause. Advertising is one form of marketing that involves paying for media space or airtime in order to reach as many people as possible with your message.


Marketing is neither inherently good nor bad. It’s a tool that can be used for good or ill, and it depends on the heart of the people who wield it. As Christians, we should be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that marketing is inherently evil or manipulative. It’s important to keep this in mind when we look at how churches use advertising, because if we’re going to have an honest discussion about what marketing means for our communities today (and tomorrow), then there must be some room left over for nuance.