Support the Café
Search our site

Three things mainline denominations should do now

Three things mainline denominations should do now

Jake Dell, manager of digital marketing and advertising for the Episcopal Church, thinks about thing that the mainline churches can do together right now which will deepen our reach and improve how we communicate our Gospel message.

The Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes 2012 conference is chock full of ideas and take-aways. Here are a few that I came up with on my own.

Number 1: Start buying Google search traffic. People go to Google before they go to their therapist or minister. They Google “Does anyone care?” or “God, do you exist?” or “I need peace” or “Is Jesus real?”

We should be buying this search traffic and routing it to custom landing pages, based on location, so our local churches can start answering these cries for help.

Marketers call this “lead generation and conversion.” I think Saint Paul called it that too.

Our outreach and evangelism committees are going to be quite busy.

(Not surprisingly, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is already doing this. Check out SearchForJesus.net.)

Number 2: Publish a mainline trade magazine. One estimate I’ve heard states that the Episcopal Church alone (and taken as a whole) generates 2 billion dollars in annual revenue. Assuming that figure is roughly the same for the United Methodist, the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America then we mainline Protestants are an 8 to 12 billion dollar industry. Maybe even more.

Any multi-billion dollar industry I know of makes common cause. They start a trade association. They publish a magazine. They share best practices.

Oh, and there are these people called advertisers with lots of money to spend to reach that 8 to 12 billion dollar market. Maybe it’s time (once again) to let the Procters and the Gambles of the world underwrite some of our mission and ministry.

Outreach magazine is great example, but it targets the evangelical church audience. In the spirit of the new journalism, we should aggregate this content and add to it so it reflects our own experience as America’s historic churches.

Number 3: Develop a common calendar of marketing opportunities. Let’s face it, real news doesn’t happen very often. Instead, the media we consume and most of the events we attend or care about from March Madness to the Academy Awards to church on Sunday happen according to a calendar that’s been planned out months, sometimes years in advance.

(In fact here it is: http://www.zapaday.com/home/.)

Do the mainline churches have a prophetic word or a word of comfort to say to mainstream culture? If so, let’s put our heads together and think about how we’re going to engage God’s world and God’s people, where they already are, from Coachella to Cannes.

Dislike (0)
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

7 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chruffin

I love these ideas. For anyone that is interested, any nonprofit (501c3) organization can apply for a Google grant for in-kind advertising via Google AdWords. While the ads don't get the number one spot, it is a great way for small parishes to have Google ads without having an impact on the parish budget. If you are interested, simply visit the URL below to find out more information.

Google Grants: http://www.google.com/grants/

Hunter Ruffin

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
E B

Sorry, forgot to add my signature; the coffee has not yet kicked in.

Eric Bonetti

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
E B

Great ideas. And for many parishes, the solution may be much simpler -- just take the social media seriously. It amazes me how many clergy talk about their interest in growing the church, yet update their Facebook page (if they have one) just two or three times a year, and then with something utterly banal. As Ashes to Go demonstrates, effective outreach means coming to others, not waiting for them to come to us.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Eric Funston

Shouldn't the "manager of digital marketing and advertising for the Episcopal Church" be coming up with (and actualizing) ideas for Episcopal Church instead "mainline churches" in general? How about some ideas for the parishes, the folks in the frontline? Why precisely has this position been created and what is its portfolio?

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Kraut1701

The author of this article is speaking on what denominations as a whole should be doing, not individual parishes. Obviously a parish wouldn't be expected to create a "mainline trade magazine."

Morris Post

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café