Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Igniting Ministry

Too often we focus on the individuality and autonomy of our own churches. Our marketing campaigns are structured in such a way that they set us apart. We herald what's unique about our congregation, highlight our stellar ministries, and cater to the individual's need for belonging. Most of the time, whether we like to admit it or not, the goal is to get people to choose our church over other alternatives. While competition is an inevitable component of marketing - even in church communications - it certainly shouldn't reflect the competitive feel of the corporate campaign.

But, there are those who have found another way. I stumbled across Igniting Ministry, a denominational marketing campaign for the United Methodists. This campaign entitled, "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." promotes the denomination, not a specific church. They have blanketed United Methodist churches with a consistent message, and have equipped the local churches with media kits and tools to take the national message and implement it in their local congregations and communities. It is truly a "united" effort.

I think this approach has a great deal of potential for reaching the unchurched. It takes the focus off of the individual differences of the local churches and seeks to grow the denomination as a whole. The best part is that they are doing it in a coordinated way, with a clear and concise message and universal images.

I hope they'll make available an assessment of how well the campaign worked for the denomination in hopes of inspiring other denominations to unite in the same way.

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