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September 5, 2017

Should Church Branding Matter?

By Micah Fries

Should branding matter for your church? Let’s think through this topic both biblically and practically if it matters and what you need to do about it.

Every church has a brand. There is no such thing as a church without a brand. A brand is simply what a community thinks about a church. Let me repeat that: your brand is what your community thinks about your church, not what you think about your church.

Do you want someone else to define what your brand is for your church? Or, do you want to define the brand of your church?

Branding matters. We often feel frustrated because we think of branding as a marketing scheme and something that is only applicable in the business world. People view branding as a marketing tactic to convince you to buy something that you don’t need and doesn’t deliver on what is promised.

Branding is merely telling your church’s story. So, how do you tell your story?

In Acts 17:5-8, we see branding elements in descriptions of the church at Thessalonica. These believers were known for for turning “the world upside down” (v. 6) as followers of Jesus Christ. They clearly had a reputation in their community.

Here are four steps to think through your church’s branding.

1. Branding is not what you think you are. Branding is what your community thinks you are.

Your church’s brand and identity is not who and what you determine it to be unless you work diligently to communicate that message. Many churches claim to be the friendliest on the block, but those claims are only true to others within the church, not to outsiders. Other churches may say they are missional. Often these churches only talk about missions and give toward missions efforts but don’t actually engage on mission. With these types of churches, what they perceive of themselves is often a better brand than what the community sees.

2. Branding is not just your church’s logo or name. Branding is your identity.

Unless the church has experienced a public failure in the community, you likely don’t need to change your church’s name. Instead, create consistent communications about your church. Remember that your name and logo are only a small part of your church’s identity.

3. Branding is telling your story.

How do you want to tell your story? What is it about your church that you want your community to know? You must first identify your purpose then identify your process to achieve this purpose. With your purpose and process, you can then better communicate and display who your church is, how your church behaves, and what values your church holds closely. These things help your community understand what matters to you as a church. You may even discover that many in the community also resonate with these values.

4. Investing in your church’s brand is as important as investing in your church’s building and communication tools.

Your paint, chairs, signage, website, and so forth matter in contemporary culture. If you don’t manage these elements as well, your brand will still be out there. It just may not be what you want it to be. Your brand matters. Treat it that way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Micah Fries

Micah Fries (@micahfries) has served as a Senior Pastor in Tennessee and Missouri, at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, TN, as an international church planter in Burkina Faso, West Africa and as a frequent speaker in churches and conferences. He holds a Master of Divinity from Midwestern Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from The Baptist College of Florida. Micah is currently a Ph.D. student, studying North American Missiology at Southeastern Seminary. While in college, Micah met Tracy, and they married in May of 2000. After college graduation Micah & Tracy moved to Burkina Faso, West Africa where they worked as church planters among the Dagaara people of Burkina Faso and Ghana. After planting churches in West Africa, Micah and Tracy returned to the US where they moved to Kansas City so that Micah could attend seminary.

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