Thursday, June 19, 2014


Ten years ago nobody was talking about churches and brands. That doesn’t mean churches didn’t have brands or that branding didn’t exist; it simply means times have changed. Branding didn’t matter back then to the degree it does today.

I know the arguments: “We shouldn’t have to ‘market’ God” or “It’s not marketing God so much as doing our due diligence to make sure the love of Jesus is properly presented in our communities.”

To me, the bottom line is this: let’s make sure our “brand” doesn’t get in the way of reaching others with God’s love and truth.

All churches have brands. Yes, even First Free. By brand, I am not talking about a logo, a design or a given stated purpose. A brand is simply the experience someone has of our church.

If you tell your friends about First Free, what do you say about it? Do you say “it’s pretty boring, my wife makes me go” or “ I always feel welcome the minute I walk in the door” or “I like it but don’t understand the name” or “I tried to find it once, but couldn’t.” These kinds of experiences are the brand.

Every church provides an experience, whether good or bad, to those who visit. This experience is the brand! Do you think First Free needs a brand adjustment?

By that question, I don’t mean a new logo, fancier slides for sermons or more expensive brochures. I mean do we need to work to provide a better experience for those who are involved in their church and for those who could potentially be involved in the church?

I think the answer is yes and that every one of us should be part of the solution. There is a large coffee chain that trains their baristas by having them do a “go see.” A “go see” is when you go in front of the store and try to look at it through the customer’s eyes.

This “go see” improves the customer experience. Why not try a “go see” this Sunday. Come looking at the experience of our church through the eyes of a guest. Were you greeted? Was the facility appealing and clean? Could you park easily? Were there signs to show where classrooms, restrooms and the auditorium are? Would you know where to drop off and pick up your kids? Would you feel safe leaving them there? Did you feel welcomed by the pastor? Was the message relevant to a need in your life? Did you connect with others? Were you told why we do things the way we do them?

Let’s all work hard at creating experiences that will draw others to Jesus.


P.S. Help! I’m drowning in debt! What’s my next step? More money should make me happy shouldn’t it? God loves rich people more than poor people doesn’t He? Join me this Sunday at 9:00am or 10:30am to get the Bible’s view of financial contentment.

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