Launching Large – Part 1 of 3

Here is part one of the breakout session that I did at the Church Planters Conference.  You can order the CD from their website.

Launching Large

“Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

1)    Don’t just teach the vision, be the vision. 

“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.” – Proverbs 4:25

It’s not enough to have a vision…you have to act on it.  The vision has to become a reality.
Vision isn’t enough.  Execution is just as important.  Don’t just tell people that you’re going to care about ministry…do some ministry. 

One of our launch team people helped me understand this principle as it related to our second preview service.  I was going to talk about the vision of the church, but she challenged me to let it be a normal service and speak for itself.  Showing is always better than telling.  We just decided to be who we were going to be. 

If you want people to know you’re funny, you don’t tell them how funny you are, you just tell them a joke.  In the first six months of our church, I haven’t taught a sole vision message.  Because each week, we flesh out that vision, and I incorporate vision into just about every message.

2)    A dozen eggs is better than a golden egg. 

I’m talking about advertising and promotion.  If you think advertising and promotion isn’t spiritual, you’re mistaken.  It’s a form of evangelism.  Why wouldn’t you want to do everything you can, short of sinning, to get people to come to your church?  Doesn’t the greatest message deserve to be promoted?   Before we launched, we did:

Doorhangers – worked pretty good, but not the most effective
Direct Mail – we’ve figured out some cost effective ways to get this done
Road Signs – these were the hightest impact thing we did for the dollar
Invite Cards  – these went along with personal invitations

I think we market our church well.  We spend some money here, but not as much as you might thing.  We learned some things that we can do to save money on direct mail, and that has turned out to be effective for us.

All of our early marketing played to the fact that we meet in a church.  You need to come up with an angle that is unique to your church.  Do not send out stock postcards – get someone to design something that fits your personality as a church.  Do not send out postcards with church buildings or pastel, girly colors on them.  Remember that you’re sending out something that needs to appeal to men, not just women.

"So this isn’t about having to bribe people into paying attention by sexing things up with graphics, sound, or shock. This is about helping the mind and the brain agree on what’s worth paying attention to. And if you want it to be you, then you better be the most provocative and interesting thing in their environment." – Kathy Sierra

If you want to attract a crowd to your first service, I would suggest that you do some marketing.  Read some marketing books.  And not just Christian ones.   I really suggest a book called Buzzmarketing.  I’ve read about 7 or 8 really good books on marketing that have really helped us.   

3)    Don’t copy churches that aren’t growing. 

“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success.” – Proverbs 15:22
“Whoever walks with the wise will become wise.” – Proverbs 13:20

Everybody has a coaching network, and you need to be around people who are doing what you want to do.  We looked and learned from Mountain Lake Church, Westridge Church and NorthPoint.  I read a lot of church leader blogs.  There are some very smart people out there.   We’ve gotten advice about when to start a second service, what times those service should be, how to get people in small groups, how to raise money.  Ask a lot of questions, and get advice.

But don’t get advice from dead or dying churches.  Who cares what they are doing if it is not working?  Why are you going to copy something that stinks?

And don’t just go do the opposite of what you hated in your last church.  You need to get with God, and seek good advice from people you respect.  And you need to make smart decisions.


1 comment so far

  1. Anthony on

    Could you post or email what you guys found that made your direct mail more cost effective, or cheaper? We are launching a church in September and we are putting these pieces into a plan now. Thanks!

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