Being known for something is important for a church. And it’s even more important to be known for the right things! The steps are pretty simple; and I actually started learning them when I was young.
I grew up near an elementary school and our yard became the cut-through where kids would walk through it to get to their school. Surprisingly, my Dad created a nice path so the kids would have a shorter trip walking or biking. Often, we noticed kids with broken bikes.
Soon, my Dad’s love for the neighborhood kids turned into a lawn sign to promote bike repair and even offer trade-ins for new bikes. Our family became known for the MacDonald’s Bicycle Shop.
My Dad discovered an opportunity and provided a solution to the need. Exactly what the church must do! If your church becomes known for something needed, it will be perceived as relevant. And needed and relevant things will grow. Here are 4 simple steps to being that:
- Have a relationship with your community. Get a demographic study around you. And, as Jesus commanded, fall in love with them (John 13:35). Church, instead of putting up fences to keep trespassers out, create a path so they’ll walk on your campus. Maybe a path to a school will gets kids walking by. With a great opportunity to promote ministry that reinforces what you’re known for.
- Understand what they need. Talk with neighbors one-on-one or in a small group. They’re probably not talking about spiritual needs! Instead, listen for what your 2 audiences (internal and external) are pondering about over their morning coffee. Or sharing with their closest friend. It’s those needs and concerns that they’re trying to heal. The church needs to help them do it. And with that engagement, lead them to the Great Physician.
- Unite under a thread. The 3-5 words your church should be known for. It’s a unique, simple, and unexpected solution that people will say when explaining why they attend your church. Make sure you can get the domain and point it to your main church URL. When you’re known for something relevant and needed, your community will be searching for it. And that thread domain helps you rank higher for those benefits; so you’ll be found through Google (even when they’re not looking for a church as a solution).
- Be consistent with thread delivery. Your website, or shared social media posts, has the potential to be the beginning of community engagement. Be known for something that’s needed and relevant online. Be consistent and helpful. Don’t promote lots of events, instead concentrate on things that relate to your thread (capturing the attention of most people). Then, on campus, from arriving to their leaving; have the emotional aftertaste of your church experience be the thread. The churches who’ve mastered this consistency, and are growing, have found that it’s connected them to their community. How’d they do it? They have every team member (and hopefully member) loving their thread and acting it out consistently.