What are you known for? What’s your perception in your community? What’s your reputation? These are questions every leader and church should be asking. Why? A community makes decisions about engaging with you based on a quick understanding of what they know about you.
Reputation matters. And the Church has not done a great job with it. Your local church has an uphill battle when it comes to perception. Outside of the Church, most in the community don’t have a good perception of our organization. It’s time to control our reputation and let the community know why we exist. What we’re known for.
Here are 3 steps to revitalizing your Church Reputation:
Examine your current perception. This is sobering. Dressed like the community would typically dress, randomly ask people if you can ask them questions. Maybe in a mall or other meeting areas, ask questions about church in general and then get more specific about your church. Like, “there’s a church a block away — have you ever visited? What do you know about it?” You’ll be surprised with the answers. Summarize how well the average outsider understands what’s happening inside.
Understand how you’re a solution to your community. With the help of a demographic study (or understanding with the help of Google or your Chamber of Commerce), get a good idea of the groups of people in your community. Select the one or two groups you can do ministry for really well and write down some of the concerns they have. Or maybe it’s common goals. Then decide what your church can do for solutions to concerns or paths to the goals.
Control your message and visual identity. You may at this point have many things to choose from. It’s best for you to decide on one solution or one path that you want to become known for. Then lock down what you’ll need to control in order for your community to see or hear it everywhere with your ministry. Words, images, videos and other content — but certainly you need to create a simple visual identity that your community will start to associate with your reputation story. Once you have that, you’ll need to limit yourself to certain colors, fonts and design elements. All of these limitations need to be clearly defined in a graphic standards manual.
Then what? Control. Control. Control. And over time your reputation will be revitalized into something desired in your community. Time will heal the perceptions of the past as long as you’re replacing your messages with a controlled message — that will ultimately connect with the story of Redemption.