Over the years I've become increasingly aware of the benefit to having some sort of relationship or at least face-to-face communication with the leaders of the church I attend. In particular, the senior pastor.
Unfortunately, at my current church, this isn't the case. Over the last
year and a half I've interacted with some of the pastoral staff, but
not once have I been within 10 feet of the senior pastor. (My wife and
I aren't front-row kind of people.) I realize this is just as much my
problem as anybody else's, but I don't like it. My church is large and
it's easy to fade into the crowd. This was a blessing at first because
my wife and I had just finished helping a church plant and we needed
some breathing room before diving back into "ministry."
How does this relate to church marketing? I'm glad you asked. If I were a customer, the pastors would be the salesmen. It's their job to sell me, hook me and make me want more every week. (Excuse the harsh comparison—I'm going somewhere with this.) What would happen if you (the church pastor) made it a point to get individual face time with the people in your church? Not just visiting with those who come to you or rehashing with the same crowd. First-time visitor gatherings are nice, but not everyone goes to those. How about coming up with a way to identify the people who have attended your church for a couple months but who you have yet to personally meet?
If you want to be authentic and do marketing that works, relationship building is the No. 1 way to go. Nearly every industry in every business will tell you that. I'm not suggesting scheduling lengthy meetings or making a huge ordeal out of this. I'm simply suggesting intentional connection with people in need of it—like me. There will be plenty of people you miss in the process, but think of all the people you will reach.