Managing The Brand
Managing The Brand
I am sure you will agree with the importance of ‘a good reputation’. Proverbs 22:1, says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favour rather than silver and gold." The church in Thessalonica had a stellar reputation all around the region. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10. Elders of local churches are required to be people of ‘good reputation (testimony) with outsiders’. 1 Timothy 3:7
All Christian’s are called upon to be people of good character that will invariably lead to a good reputation. So attributes like honesty, courage, consistency, transparency and kindness to mention just a few are incredibly important and worthy pursuits. What is the alternative……..dishonesty, inconsistency and unkindness……no one wants that.
When it comes to church life our reputation and testimony as 3000 local churches and as a national church in NZ matters…..it really matters. When together as communities of faith we love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength and follow Him no matter the cost, a fine reputation is a natural by-product. There is no need to (artificially) create it or pump it up or advertise it. There is no need for steroids.
A fine reputation certainly doesn’t need brand management.
So the question that I want to ask you is simply this:- How come we are hearing the phrase ‘brand management or managing the brand’ a lot more in church circles in recent times? Statements like, “XYZ church is in crisis as they do damage control on their brand”. Really?
Think about it for a moment. Perhaps you may like to look it up and you will come across words like image, appearances, impressions, slick, polished and professional.
Now, it seems to me that we are talking about something else entirely. Now we are talking about ‘show time’ rather than the gathered community of God’s people doing what we are called to do and in so doing create a fine reputation within and without.
When we start talking about managing the brand we are far more concerned about our image and how we project it AND protect it than we are about the creation of authentic communities of faith. When we are concerned about our image we end up requiring people who are ‘public facing’ to look a certain way, move a certain way (and at the exact right time), wear certain clothes, speak certain ways and generally appear ‘hip’ and ‘in’. Our que’s come from the world of entertainment rather than the person of Christ. It’s a very slippery slope.
Friends. This modern day development in some sectors of the Christian Church should concern us deeply. How is it that we have become so enamoured by modern day marketing techniques and image management? Surely this is not our gig?
And no I am not saying being sloppy is OK. Of course not. I strongly believe that if a job needs to be done then do it well for sure but that is a long way from this constant push and striving for a flawless presentation at all costs.
The watching world can sniff this out. They are unimpressed by and large. They want a genuine and authentic expression of church. And so do our people. A church that is known for its “work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”. 1 Thess.1:3 (NKJV)
I wonder if now is a perfect time to do a review of how we do church? I wonder if we need to ask ourselves honestly if we have, perhaps innocently, got caught up in the marketing phenomena of our modern age? It’s never too late to start with a fresh piece of paper.
P.S. I thought you may be interested to know. Last week I wrote about The Media here. The person (and company) I reach out to for expert media and communications advise is Heather Claycomb of HMC Communications. I highly recommend Heather and her team.
Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.