Church marketing and belly fat. What’s the connection?

I’ve learned that the quickest way to look like I’ve lost 10 pounds is to suck in my gut.

And when I suck that puppy in, I get a brief glimpse of what I could look like, and it’s exciting.

But eventually I have to breathe and it all just flops back out — and there’s the flabby reality.

So, how does my spare tire relate to church marketing?

If you try to mask a reality with words, whitewash and wishful thinking, the deception will fail. And when it does, all you’re left with is the reality — and possibly a bad reputation.

What does that look like in the church?

Some examples:

Mask: We have a thriving college ministry.

Reality: College students are certainly welcome here, but we really haven’t created a solid program to meet their needs.


Mask: Our church is very active in the community.

Reality: We invite people to our campus, but we rarely participate in civic events or community activities offsite.


Mask: At our church, everyone is welcome.

Reality: When people who don’t look like us walk through our doors, they’re met with judgement and awkward glances.


Mask: We’re friendly.

Reality: Our people won’t step across the aisle to say hello to someone new.


Mask: We have visitors coming each week.

Reality: We don’t follow up with them.


Mask: Christ is our cornerstone. We exist to honor and glorify God.

Reality: We haven’t seen that here for a long time.

On our websites, and in our brochures, we all promote vibrant churches with incredible missions and ample church outreach opportunities. Often we’re “growing communities of Christian believers.” We’re all family oriented, welcoming, and we promise that everybody who visits will be greeted with a firm handshake and a hearty hello.

Thankfully, many churches are exactly what they promote. But many aren’t. Some are in a spiritual funk. Some are mired in church politics and strife. Some haven’t done a real outreach in years.

And those truths are revealed when someone visits.

Is the church they visit the same one they read about? Is the church they visit the same one their friends told them about?

Will they return?

No church is perfect. And it’s perfectly normal to want people to believe all of these great things about your church because the church you’re writing about is the one you really want it to be. But if your church is struggling in an area, you need to stop, address it and fix it.┬áDon’t use fancy words on your website and in your conversations to mask the reality.

When you do that, all you’re really doing is sucking in your gut. And sooner or later you have to breathe.

Are there areas you need to reassess and evaluate? Do you find yourself stretching the truth in your marketing materials or in your conversations?


Every church has its church marketing challenges. So the approach to overcome obstacles varies from congregation to congregation. Learn more about Hands and Feet Marketing’s customized church marketing consultation services. Contact us today. Let’s chat and see if we can help.

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