6 (Cheap) Marketing Ideas for Church Planters

1. Don’t do it. It still amazes me how many people think money is the answer to church growth, especially in the context of church planting. By deciding not to follow through with your idea, not only will you save money, you’ll save time and avoid headaches too. Still convinced you want to do it? Read on ...

2. Hand-write invitations. You’d be surprised at the remarkable results this often brings. New businesses have used this inexpensive and highly targeted approach; it may work for you too.

3. Go to where the people are (online and off-line). Don’t rely on direct mail and other mass-marketing to get the job done for you. The most effective way to reach people is to go to them. If you’re targeting business folk, get in touch with friends who work in larger companies and do lunch together in the big lunchroom or cafeteria. Then “work” the crowds (elevators, lunch room, etc.). If you’re looking for the college crowd, do the same thing there. Don’t be all about getting people to church on the weekend; be all about being with people.

4. Create remarkable experiences. Instead of trying to get people talking, focus more on what you’re getting people talking about. People don’t talk about something because you ask them to; they talk about something because they want to. Do they want to talk about you and what you’re doing?

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5. Set up a projector on the side of a huge building. Get permission from the owners of a large building close to a road with a lot of traffic. Rent a projector with powerful lumens. Set it up at night and project it on to the wall of the building.

6. Use existing messaging pieces from others and apply them to your context. If something is working for someone else, see if it can work for you. Start small. Test it. Don’t copy. Don’t tweak million-dollar ad campaigns and make them sound churchy.


Brad Abare is the director of communications for the Foursquare denomination, founder of the Center for Church Communication, and president of Personality, a communication and marketing consultancy.

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Need more ideas for communicating your church’s vision? Check out the Center for Church Communication’s Church Marketing Lab, a free open-source resource.

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