Everyone loves to play Connect the Dots.

When parents sit down at a table in a restaurant, they’re going to play with the kids’ menu. They’re going to color, complete the crossword puzzle, stick the stickers, and connect the dots to see what image they have.

Playing connect the dots is something we were all taught as kids, something we teach our own kids, and it’s something we never stop playing.

Along the way, we forgot the instructional purpose of the game: how dozens of pieces come together to form a single picture. 

Church marketing is not a simple concept. In fact, churches and pastors are all over the place when it comes to how to market the church. There are pastors who say never market the Gospel and thrive off of word of mouth. Others have a dialed in strategy on how to reach their audiences with a branded media presence. And there are those who have no idea what to do. Is there an appropriate balance in there, something we can all rally behind and move forward in? Can we allow the Gospel to speak on its own as well as give our churches the tools they need to further the cause of Christ?

The conversation is not an either/or conversation, but rather a both/and one. The question is, how exactly do we go about doing it the right way? While every church will prepare the way a little bit differently across their varying contexts, there are principles that will guide you along the way.

1. Start with the end in mind. 

If you could accomplish any one thing, what would it be? This is the end that we want you to define. Write it down. Does this end line up with your mission statement and your church’s values? If so, let’s make this end bold and communicate the end with your team.

2. Define the major markers along the way. 

No one defines their end and accomplishes it immediately. You start with your end in mind and then define the major markers along the way that will help you accomplish your objective. We call these the next right steps. If the whole picture of a connect the dots is the end, then the dots along the way are these steps. These major steps are identified by key staff roles, critical mass, buzz, registration, etc … Whatever these next right steps are, make sure you define them, loop in your staff, and keep your team focused on the end.

3. Expect stuff to happen along the way. 

Have you ever noticed the difference between a kid that finishes a connect the dots and an adult? The kids’ picture usually has crooked lines, lines that don’t belong, numbers mismatched; the picture is off. But notice the adult picture: straight lines, proper order of numbers, solid picture. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. If you can understand that and have some peace about it, the end will always remain focused and your team won’t stress when things hit the fan (and they will).

Are you ready to market your church the right way? It’s not easy, there is no single formula that works, but there are principles that will guide you along the way no matter if you are a word of mouth only pastor or one that goes all out in the digital space. If you can rally the troops around these three principles, then your team will stay focused, your audience will get on board, and you will accomplish your end in record time and with maximum impact.

Download our Connect the Dots marketing process to help you roll out an effective strategy.