By Pat Schatzline, www.mercyseatministries.com
Lyall Mercer, www.mercerpr.com
The following is teaching that has burned in my heart for a while. I asked my dear friend from Australia name Lyall Mercer to contribute. I pray you are blessed!
Branding- The desire to authenticate, manufacture, and publicly proclaim your vision or idea.
Proverbs 29:18, (message bible) If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.
Is it possible to create a brand and vision that could change cultures, environments, and lives? It isn’t unholy to create a plan for your vision that gets the attention of the church world while developing a “hook” for the drive by seeker or lost person.
Habakkuk 2:2, (message bible) And then GOD answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. 3 This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.
We have seen that done in every aspect of community. The church is no different. We must create an idea/ vision that sticks. Whether it is a vision to love your city, serve your arena of influence, or establish a safe place of corporate worship people are looking for something to belong too. In the church arena we must compete with the cultural noise around us. There is a constant onslaught against our values and beliefs. Today’s, media is mostly owned by secularist, or social driven groups whom always have an agenda. Most of the time works against our core values. I truly believe that the church is just now catching a vision for branding. Social groups have done this for years.
Why can’t the church have an agenda? I believe our agenda trumps the worlds. Our goal is to populate heaven and depopulate hell! Oops! I mentioned hell. It is a very real place that we compete against for the very souls of mankind.
Christian influenced social media has taken off with an attempt to brand our services, our vision, and our newest outreach. It is a great start. We can now website and twitter our newest sermon, blog our most recent revelation, face book our big gatherings, and e-invite people to join our newest cause. We are Branding!
I honestly believe that this generation is looking for churches, movements, youth ministries, and Christian arenas that will proudly proclaim truth. What if we branded our vision like the backrooms of the environmental headquarters? What if we shouted our plans of invasion like the gay and lesbian culture? What if we stood tall upon the mountain of misinformation given to the students of universities and declared truth? God has chosen us to “Brand” the truth! If you don’t believe in your vision, dream, and purpose who will? There is a reason why super bowl adds cost 1.5 million for 30 seconds. Advertising works. But it isn’t just advertising it is branding your concept. Living your Brand!
We want to share with you some guidelines and principles for branding your vision.. I will tell you that if you brand your vision the right way you will see eventual growth in the area of team, congregants, and community recognition.
Part 1- "12 Guidelines for Branding your vision”
By Pat Schatzline, follow @patschatz, www.mercyseatministries.com
1. Getting started: Pray! Dream! Consult!
2. Ask yourself and your team what do you want to be known most for in your city. It maybe that your ministry is “a thriving place of encounter for the entire family,” or a place that is known for “loving everyone regardless of history”, or maybe a place that “rescues the lost, heals the hurting, and empowers the least of these.” Establish what it is that creates the very “pulse” of your vision!
3. What is your pulse? Define and simplify!
4. Make sure your if your idea is borrowed you have done the leg work to secure the right to use it!
5. Create the artwork that defines the vision. Remember: keep it simple! Easy to read on the go? Leaving the passer with curiosity, but understanding.
6. Make sure the vision is simplistic in nature, but deep in meaning!
7. Many times the “brand” will come from the heart of a leader or team. It can be a sudden vision that comes, or is birthed over a long period of consistent ministry
8. Develop a plan and calendar that will answer the “brand.”
9. Get as many as possible on board who can begin to help in the best way of advertising “Word of Mouth.” In other words sale your vision to your inner circle! Excitement always starts at the core!
10. Dream out a way to share it with your church, company, ministry, city, or nation. Ask God for inspired ideas, look at what others are doing, and don’t be afraid to start small.
11. Sell it to you! How we push the vision and brand truly determines its success. Does it mean you have to stretch and put on a new wine skin. The greatest hindrance to a vision is when the leader sends mixed messages. Sometimes we ourselves must be willing to die on the hill.
12. Your “brand” should emulate the ultimate goal of your vision. Many times people “brand” off their history, but most of the time this brings little or no influence. Brand for today and tomorrow!
Part 2- “Practical Rules for Branding”
by Lyall Mercer- Follow @Lyallmercer, www.mercerpr.com
(Lyall Mercer is a former church planter, Christian speaker, crisis and talent manager who also owns a successful public relations firm called Mercer PR.)
1. Your brand must be authentic. It must be you. It must reflect your values and passion.
2. There is no right or wrong way to “do” youth ministry, just as there is no right or wrong way to “do” church. However the values and principles cross all styles and methods
3. If all you do is copy others – you are not being true to yourself or obedient to God. It’s OK to get ideas from others but God has called you to be you.
4. Know your market. Are you targeting Christians or the unchurched? I see a “community” identity as one that connects with the community, so speak and act in ways the community understands.
5. Do you want to preach at people or connect with them? Jesus connected and so should we.
6. Connection takes understanding. Don’t pretend to understand the way the unchurched thinks if you never associate with them. If you have gone from school to bible college to church ministry you probably have very little understanding of the way unbelievers think. Church “cool” is not enough if you want to connect with the un-churched.
7. Is your marketing directed at Christians or the un-churched? If you think “awesome worship” is a term that will attract the un-churched this is a sure sign that you are on the wrong track.
8. Connecting with the community means to accept people whoever they are and whatever they are into. It means to rise above judgment and understand that they are being true to their world-view and have different priorities and values. As Christian leaders our role is to respect the views and values of others not degrade them. This doesn’t mean we have to share their views and values – on the contrary we need to be influencers of the truth. But the first step to influence is respect for others.
9. Know your message. Everyone has a message that they are passionate about. My message is that the church is the connection point between the world and eternity and that we must live lives of connection not condemnation. I want this message to define my ministry. What defines yours?
10. Your message becomes your “brand”. It must be reflected in everything you do. The words you use, the graphics in your logo and the programs you operate. The leader sets the culture, the message and the course. Your leaders will follow you and eventually reflect the culture you set.
11. Do not allow others to vary your message or culture. If they see things differently allow them (even encourage them…) to take a different course. Your culture, direction and message is non-negotiable because this is the message and culture God has put into your heart.
12. Think of the youth ministries and churches that are huge and doing great things. They are originals. They didn’t follow someone else’s path but blazed their own trails. This is what separates the remembered from the forgotten.
13. Do things that relate to the community. Be a part of bigger community projects and events. Promote what you do through local media and throughout it all, stay true to your message and brand.
14. Look at your self and your ministry through the eyes of an unbeliever and ask if you’d be interested. Be honest.
Part 3- "18 ways to Implement the plan" By Pat Schatzline
1. Begin to the put the “brand” in place via meetings, services, encounters, and gatherings that resemble what you plan to “brand.” In other words be doing it before you reveal it!
2. Let your plan begin to grow by constant communication.
3. Once the artwork is in place bombard all of your avenues of influence, marketplace, web traffic, and street traffic.
4. Have others model the vision by way of communication, t-shirts, social media, touch cards, and text.
5. Create the write signage. Banners and yard signs create excitement.
6. Let your theme be known at every level. Act it out at every level. Create ways to be seen, heard, and watched.
7. Guard your “Brand” from outside interference. In other words make sure that you own your brand. Your brand defines your mission statement.
8. Constantly look for ways to improve your brand!
9. Your brand should say everything there is to know about you.
10. Never be afraid of over exposure.
11. Realize your brand is not in competition with the church, but rather is competition with the outside noise.
12. Your brand will take on a life of its own. Get out of the way and let it work for you.
13. Be prepared to always defend your vision!
14. Make sure your team always makes decisions that will bring honor and integrity to the brand.
15. Constantly look for avenues to increase the vision without de-simplifying your vision.
16. Make sure your vision can carry the load of expectation.
17. Make up your mind to not deviate from the plan. This is who we are, and until God changes our direction this is who we will be!
18. Your “brand” will define your next 5-10 years. Let’s quit playing catch up! Have fun! This is your chance to be at the helm of the boat! Make up your mind to lead to a revolution! Let history declare you didn’t sit back, you never played second, but you desired to impact your world. Go Glocal!
Invade your world with the good news!