BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Your Marketing Team stands ready for Phase 2 — now halfway through your work. To get the full benefit of the next steps in this project, be sure your team members have filled out the worksheets from Phase 1 and read the reports provided. Their ideas are the foundation on which Phase 2 is built. Going forward, your team will take a realistic look at your church’s successes and areas for improvement in relation to your community and the people you wish to reach. You then develop your strategies and craft the goals needed to achieve them.
This is followed by an assessment of the resources available to your church and development of a working marketing plan. The final document will carry all of the work your team put forth, and it will give your members a vision of what to expect going forward in terms of communications.
- Complete Vision & Values Worksheet
- Review Church Profile
- Review Community Profile
- Review Church Member Survey Results
- Review Small Group Interview Results
- Review Community Survey Results
STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION
putting knowledge to use
STRENGTHS, CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES
a look in the mirror
Between the survey research you’ve read from Phase 1 and the work you’ve completed about your church’s Core Values and Vision, you’re equipped for the next step: Strengths, Challenges and Opportunities.
Below you will find a fictional summary of a church’s current status, which leads to a Strengths/ Challenges/Opportunities (SCO) assessment for that church. You will see the church occasionally referred to as “Generic UMC.” All of their specifics — from their target audience to age ranges — are only meant to provide a fictional example. Note how the specifics in their SCO relate to everything from the church’s location to events and from maintenance to church programs.
During the research portion of its Marketing Plan process, Generic UMC learns the percentage of young adults (ages 18-35) in the area is far higher than the percentage represented in their church. While the church has ministries directed toward young adults, those efforts have become stagnant. Using surveys, the church discovers a strong desire among young adults with small children (ages 25-34) to meet social services needs. The church realizes that their programs for young adults are purely for social purposes. Yet the church offers several ministries focused on social service needs.
As the Marketing Team begins its SCO assessment, they take into consideration the young adults in the area and identify the following:
Church Location:Generic UMC is located in an established neighborhood of post-war bungalow homes that is experiencing renewal. Many young couples have moved to the area to rehab and live in these homes. It is also located next door to a public elementary school and offers free tutoring to children in grades 5 and 6. Annual 4th of July Celebration: The highlight of every summer is the Annual 4th of July Celebration. Food, games, a free concert and fireworks draw a large crowd. It’s a major fellowship event for church members and a fun, free social gathering for the people of the community.
Limited Options: Church leaders examine their current programs for young adults and realize that the only option is an advanced Sunday morning Bible study class working through the Bible in a two-year curriculum. This is not an easy point of entry to the church for newer people; it could be an opportunity to develop a more “contemporary” issues class.
Frustrating Results: While the Annual 4th of July Celebration brings many visitors to the grounds, church leaders see very limited results from the effort in terms of any bump in attendance following the event. People come, but they don’t connect or get involved with the church. Many question the expense and effort for this big party. Playground Equipment: While the grounds ofGeneric UMC are attractive and tidy, the church playground equipment is outdated and, in some cases, in disrepair. Several broken swings, a rusted slide and inadequate safety ground coverings create liability concerns, an unsafe environment and give the impression that the church does not value children.
Tutoring Program:Generic UMC has a strong relationship with a nearby public elementary school where the church’s seniors group offers tutoring for students in grades 5 and 6. They would like to serve more children, but the number of interested senior adults has reached a plateau. Church leaders are considering expanding the program to include young adults as tutors.
Handyman Ministry: Over a dozen retired men from the congregation serve together, offering free handyman services for needs from within the congregation. As church leaders look around their neighborhood, they realize that many of the young couples moving to the neighborhood are tackling home remodeling projects. Church leaders consider growing the handyman ministry to include free “do-it-yourself” clinics to teach aspiring remodelers skills like carpentry, plumbing, electrical, tile, roofing, etc.
Now it's Your Turn
See our downloadable Strengths/Challenges/Opportunities worksheet for a brief series of questions. By answering those questions, you can provide your thoughts and ideas to foster conversation during this part of your team’s meeting.
DOWNLOAD THE STRENGTHS, CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES WORKSHEET
Hi! Have We Met?
Understanding the life and the needs of the people you’re speaking to is essential to your marketing plan. Thus, defining your audience means answering some key questions.
Do you know who you’re trying to reach — and what motivates them? Yes, you want everyone in your community to come to know and love Jesus. Yet if you don't center your efforts, your work will be wasted. The majority of your energy should go toward the people you can impact and their interests, while you still value and serve all audiences.
Does the data point to your audience? In Phase 1, you should have requested a demographics report from United Methodist Communications. The demographic information is census-based. With this report — coupled with guidance from your surveys, Core Values and Vision — you can identify the audience(s) you hope to reach.
Using your demographic report, ask: Are there enough people to reach? That may seem an odd question, yet it can help to prevent your team from seeking the wrong audience. Because once you know your audience, it's easier to choose the right messages.
What benefits does your church provide? Will your services, events and programs speak to the needs and interests of your chosen audience? If not, consider this your opportunity to better align your church with the audience.