Gone are the days when people would stick to their Sunday church routines for their whole lives. With modern technology has come a litany of distractions and choices that have taken people away from their longtime places of worship.
Young people are one of the most affected parties. A very small amount of them regularly attend church. Why would they when they have a Bible app on their iPhones, and they don’t feel that the church is meeting their spiritual needs? They can download podcasts of sermons or use a list app to keep track of their prayers. Although these are not valid excuses for Christians to fail to gather together (see Hebrews 10:25), this is a very real challenge facing the modern church.
If your church is feeling the effects of this current issue, it might possibly be a communication issue. Communicating the right message in your branding can go a long way in appealing to potential visitors.
If you think your messaging is not effectively communicating and resonating with the people you want to reach, it might be time to seriously think about changing your church branding. There are certainly many other factors to take into consideration, but for some churches, re-branding is a wise step to take.
When we think of re-branding, we usually think of businesses. But, organizations like charities and churches can also benefit from rethinking the message they’re sending out as they try to reach a wider audience.
What does it mean to re-brand your church? Many churches are dropping the long, detailed names of their churches. For example, The Bethel Assembly of God is now called Bethel’s Rock.
Other churches are dropping their inter-Christianity identifiers. In Minnesota, more than half of Baptist churches have taken the Baptist identifier out of their church’s name.
A Baptist preacher in Colorado explains why he felt he needed to drop the “Baptist” from his church name. He no longer wanted to be affiliated with the extremist Westboro Baptist Church or any of the scandals that have hit the Baptist population.
He simply felt with the publicity, it no longer described his denomination well enough to be worth a spot on his sign. Some churches rebrand for this reason, to better fit the needs and descriptions of their populations.
Others rebrand in hopes of attracting new members to join their services. Generally, they have some goal of attracting a younger population, but not all the time. Their goal is simple. They want to stand out to church-goers in the area.
How do you Change Your Church Branding?
We wish we could tell you that it’s easy, but it’s not. There is a long list of things to consider and people to discuss them with before you should even google “rebranding consultants”.
Here’s a general overview of what you need to consider during the rebranding process.
1) Establish the Purpose of the Re-brand
Before you invest time and money in re-branding your church, you need to make sure you’re totally clear on the purpose of your re-brand.
What do you want to accomplish? What changes do you need to make? Think about why people come to your church and what you need to do to bring in a larger and more diverse congregation.
Once your purpose is clearly defined, be sure to revisit the idea often to make sure your re-branding efforts are still relevant.
You’re going to need to sit down and put all relevant documents on the table. That means logos, mission statements, values – anything that you would list as “about us” on a church website.
Then, gather a team of people and have them come up with what they think is working for your church and what needs to change. What are you looking for with a re-branding?
If your goal is to attract a younger crowd, find examples of churches in your area with active youth populations. What can you learn from them?
If it’s your goal to better describe your existing fellowship, maybe you should bring them in on your decisions.
And of course, you want to make sure that you don’t compromise the gospel and your core doctrinal convictions in the process of changing your branding! It’s important to establish this early on in the re-branding process and to assure your congregation that the church is still resting on the same spiritual solid ground.
2) Be Flexible
As you go through the re-branding process, you’ll want to maintain a clear vision. You should also make sure that you’re always open to new ideas and suggestions.
Encourage your team to be creative and share their ideas without fear of judgment. Remember, a re-brand is an opportunity to start fresh and try new things out, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
3) Stay Consistent
While the way you advertise your church and share your message is changing, you need to make sure that, during the re-brand, you also remain consistent and stay true to your church’s essential beliefs and core convictions, as we’ve already pointed out.
Re-branding can be tricky for businesses, but it’s even more so for churches. People put a lot of trust in their church leaders, and they need to know that they’re not going to be left behind as part of the re-brand.
4) Make Your Re-brand Known
We encourage you to share changes and updates regarding the re-brand with your congregation. Communicating clearly with your own people before bringing in new people is very important. You can also encourage them to get involved and make suggestions as well, as we’ve pointed out previously.
This will help your congregation feel more connected to the reason for the re-brand, and your openness will reassure them that, while you’re trying to build the congregation, the foundations of your faith are still the same.
There are lots of other ways you can make your re-brand known. Put together a special community event, or advertise on your social media channels. The possibilities are endless; the main goal is just to spread the word to as many people as possible.
In Closing: Persevere!
When you’re changing something that has been the same for a long time, expect some pushback. But if you’re open and truthful about what you want out of a rebranding and have really thought about why you need it, your team and congregation should eventually get behind you.
Re-branding is a complex process that can take years, and it certainly shouldn’t be rushed into lightly. But if, with prayer and wise counsel, you’ve decided that it’s the best step for your church right now, then we encourage you to persevere! The benefits can very long-lasting in a more fruitful outreach to your community and an identity that your church members understand and can stand behind.
Is your church going through the re-branding process right now? Have you been involved in a church re-branding in the past? Let us know about the process in the comments! We’d love to learn with you.