Comprehensive Church Marketing Plan Templet


Marketing is an integral part of a church’s Outreach and Evangelism Program.  

It is, quite simply, using communication tools in a way that allows churches to build relationships and draw people into a relationship with Christ. Reviewing Scripture shows that marketing, when used appropriately, is definitely biblical. 

Church marketing is a way of promoting a church's mission, vision, and culture to those who currently attend the church and those you hope will attend in the future. 

We are saturated with various forms of traditional advertising and marketing everywhere we look—from social media posts and digital ads to billboards and TV commercials. All this makes it very difficult for us to understand how church marketing is different, what church marketing materials consist of, and how we can do it effectively. Church 

Outreach and Evangelism requires that we take a comprehensive and coordinated approach. This templet is a means of pulling together various important components to market the programs and services a church has to offer. It complements outreach and evangelism efforts and helps the church to be more efficient and effective. The bottom line is that every church can do a better job of sharing their love of Jesus, and God’s love of them. 

Churches need to get started letting their communities know who they are, that they are an important part of the community, and that they care about people in the community. 

Who We Are Most congregations have been and remain very committed to serving the needs of their local community and demonstrating Christ’s love to others. This commitment is usually reflected in their Purpose, Mission, and Vision statements. 

Purpose Statement: Why we do things – what we are setting out to do.

Mission Statement: Who we are and what we value.

Vision Statement: What we want to become. 

These statements are the basis of creating the church’s marketing plan, using various means to reach their target market. You may already have defined these statements. Most likely, you will need outside help to refine them and to have consensus on their meaning within the congregation. 

Context Whether or not you may know it, most churches are already marketing the church in one way or another. We are sending messages to the congregation and our community through the active programs and ministries being offered. Churches may have active congregations with dedicated volunteers, good preaching, and a solid base of belief. Or they are declining, losing members, and having a hard time keeping the doors open. In either case, they are not performing at their potential. 

God has a plan already in place for every group of believers. It is up to the congregation to acknowledge this plan and take the actions necessary for it to happen. It is never the perfect time to start these efforts. There are almost always key things in the life of a church that are up in the air; there are some transitions occurring, and major changes that may take place in the not-so-distant future that can impact their marketing efforts. There is, however, a certain urgency in moving forward and in following the Great Commission. 

A Comprehensive Marketing Plan is essential in conducting an effective ministry of outreach and evangelism in the community while also meeting the needs of the congregation. Existing methods of communication and marketing must be consolidated and coordinated with new and emerging approaches to reach the changing needs. 

Marketing Plan Basics Several basics begin to define a church’s marketing plan. .. 

First is the discipleship of the existing congregation. This will be accomplished through greater engagement, education and training, and the growth of faith. Opportunities to serve, grow in the community, and to share their faith must be offered. Specific invitations should be made to the congregation getting them to participate in programs and asking them to discover and use their gifts. 

One on one, personal contact is the absolute best form of marketing. The entire congregation must be engaged. 

Second is the desire to reach more people, not just those coming from other churches, but also non-believers and un-churched people. Churches must seek to grow and to meet the needs of people in their community, and the world. This may specifically include a desire to reach younger families to bring new life and energy into the church. 

The church’s people must take very seriously the Great Commission, the requirements of membership in their church, and the role of being the hands and feet of Jesus. 

Third is the continuation of excellent teaching, the development of spiritual gifts, and the desire to serve God. Different styles and types of worship are involved. We must reach out with messages of the Gospel in new and creative ways, serving people through love and witness. Church’s must also be able to introduce Jesus to those that may not know Him through ways in which they will be open to hear the messages. 

The final basic is the Outreach and Evangelism program developed, attracting people to Jesus through developing relationships and meeting needs in the community. Like the previous area, the focus here is on meeting people where they are and within their current circumstances. A church must be relevant to today’s challenges, meet their needs, and not expect them to fit into its services. A separate Outreach Plan and Evangelism Plan may be necessary to outline this work. 

Community Insights To connect people to Christ and to community, we need to gain insights from the people who live nearby or may attend our church. They can provide a perspective that can be gained nowhere else. 

The first step is recognizing the services lacking for individuals, groups, or the entire community. This information can be found in local demographic reports, through social service organizations, or by asking people directly. With this information, it is possible to see a wider view on topics such as age, ethnicity, incomes, education, housing and more. 

These community needs are opportunities for a congregation to connect people to the hope of Christ while addressing basic human needs or developmental shortcomings. Understanding these needs helps to meet people where they are as opposed to creating offerings and messages that the church thinks they want.

 Community needs may include physical needs: food, clothing, shelter, medical care, pregnancy care; perhaps people or groups have a need for meeting or facilities space (gym, library, kids’ areas), after-school care. Relational needs: friendship, life purpose/direction, a way to use their time and talents. Socioeconomic needs: abuse protection or healing, freedom from addiction, financial advice, marital or parental counseling. Circumstantial needs: widowed, divorced, job training, language training, demanding job situation. 

Focus Audiences or Target Markets: 

No church can or should attempt to be all things to all people. It can only be effective through focusing on target markets and specific needs. The following have been identified: 

  • The church’s existing congregation, continuing to seek new, deeper, and alternative ways of worshiping.
  • People in the community that are not currently attending a church but have the interest and desire to participate in a fellowship.
  • Young families who may be looking for something more, or who want their children to be part of something they once experienced.
  • Seekers, non-Christians looking for answers and for something they know exists in the world but have not yet found. 

Other audiences might be identified based on locality. For example, and ethnic base within the community, proximity to a military base, or large churches in an area where people may feel lost identify specific needs and audiences.

Market Strategies: There is a very wide range of strategies available to reach these target markets. Church marketing is NOT telling people what they want to hear, in the usual form of marketing products and services. It’s reaching people where they are, connecting with them, understanding their needs and pain, and offering the only solution to whatever they’re feeling – Jesus Himself.  It is finding ways to be relevant to their needs and interests and to build relationships.Not every strategy will be applicable to every target market, and some strategies fit better within certain audiences. Specific strategies will not be presented in full at this time; the intent is to provide enough information to understand them and see how they might apply. 

Churches also cannot hope to take everything on at the same time and will need to set priorities and phase in strategies as they best fit. 

Before getting into the descriptions of various strategies, some initial consideration should be given to how to apply them. This is the specific and unique identity of the church, establishing who it is, what you value, and how you are unique or different. This is an extension of the statements given earlier.

Who you are is the intangible essence of a church, not just what they do. This is sometimes referred to as the “brand” and includes such things as shared beliefs, culture, language, styles of worship, and basics of service and outreach shared. 

A church may, for example, be characterized as a loving church with a heritage of service that is often expressed through food and feeding others, or in other ways. Most churches have expressed clear values, strong beliefs, and an emphasis on prayer. A commonly used statement describing a brand might be that the church seeking to share the love of Jesus within the community.

 These sets of characteristics begin to define the brand. In establishing what you value you need to be clear and consistent in your communications. This includes all aspects of marketing, and should be based upon a plan that ensures that it is regular and well placed, as well as clear and consistent. As such, a church shouldn’t set marketing aside and hope it somehow comes together on a whim. It must be comprehensive and a focus of the ministry. How a church is unique or different are those factors that set it apart and make its ministry memorable, exciting, and desirable. 

Worship services are, of course, an important part of this, but not everyone is comfortable and open to the Gospel in traditional worship settings. The ways in which love is shown, that you about people, are willing to listen and help, and many other factors are crucial to what you have to offer. Where and how you engage with people, how safe and welcome they feel, and if you are able to relate to their needs are also important.  

What is unique about our program and how we respond to community needs is our unique value proposition. We need to distinguish ourselves among many competing and conflicting messages in the world today, establishing how we are different and what we are doing to help make a difference. This might include something as simple as childcare, or as complex as marriage encounters and counseling. If we try to answer how we can make their lives better, they will seek what we have to offer.  

Initial Strategies on which to Build a Foundation Every Marketing Plan should begin with prayer and the willingness to give God the glory and honor for what He is about to do. God already has a plan in place and the means to carry it out if the church is willing. The people of your congregation are His instruments to do His Will. His Great Commission is clear; having a comprehensive marketing plan provides the communication tools that allow us to build relationships and draw people into a relationship with Christ.  

Level One Strategies – Low or No Tech

A church isn’t just a place; it’s a community. One of the best ways to strengthen and grow that community is to encourage the existing attendees to be ambassadors. Imagine if every member of a congregation personally invited just one friend or family member to a service, the pews could be twice as full, and the positive energy would be palpable! Now that’s effective church marketing. As already identified, personal one on one contact is the best form of marketing. 

Specific actions include: 

Challenging the congregation from the pulpit to reach out and invite friends, relatives, and neighbors to specific things. Provide handouts, invitations, or other physical tools to assist congregation members with their invitations. Provide sample text messages, posts, and other forms of social media to use. 

  • Investigate and implement programs that teach basic evangelism and other needed programs.
  • Consider and implement a method of recording attendance and, perhaps, congregational needs. There must be a means of doing something with the information; it is not enough to just collect the data.

 Develop a comprehensive communication plan to establish branding standards, content direction, types of application, and a central core for communication. 

Specific actions include: 

Start with branding, it isn’t just for mega-corporations. It’s not all about flashy logos and jingles that won’t leave your head. It’s for churches too! Think of branding as a church’s handshake with the world — the first impression. It’s how people recognize, remember, and relate to a church, both online and offline. To nail branding, start with consistency. 

Consistency is crucial to stand out in the crowd. It is also important to establish schedules for communicating with different types of media. Consistency helps in reinforcing recognition and building trust. Whether it’s colors, logos, or tone of communication, they must align with a church’s core values and messages. 

To be consistent, you must have a process for information to flow, standards that establish how and what is communicated, and to whom. This requires a coordinated approach between all forms of communication, including social media, spoken words, and printed materials. For example, perhaps you should not post on the church’s website something that impacts less than half of the congregation. Other forms such as a Facebook Page or targeted website should be used. 

Written communication includes forms other than social media. 

In a world where everything is online, getting a physical letter, post card, or personal invitation feels special. But here’s the twist — this type of communication has also evolved. 

Specific actions include:

Graphic Design: Your mailer should be the first thing people see when they shuffle through their mail. It must utilize consistent branding, but it must also stand out and look professional. 

Motion Graphics: How do motion graphics fit into direct mailers? QR codes have become very popular and effective! Consider adding a QR code to your website that links to an animated invitation or motion graphic within what else is published. It bridges the physical and digital in a fun way. 

Copywriting: Your message is the meat of the mailer and conversations. Whether it’s a heartfelt message or info about an upcoming event, you must ensure it is conveyed effectively. 

Newspaper Advertising: Even with so much technology, it’s still special to see a familiar name or event in the local newspaper. Local, hometown newspapers, are very good at promoting what is happening; they are hungry for content. It’s a trust thing. When we publish ads in a local newspaper, it demonstrates a commitment to the community. Plus, you reach people who may not always be online. Not everyone is on social media. Many still enjoy reading the news while having their morning coffee. 

In the digital age, church bulletins and newsletters have changed also. There's no longer a need to cram every announcement into the printed bulletin handed out to members and visitors each Sunday. In fact, many churches have replaced bulletins with brief sermon outlines and notes, or images on the screen. This may be a mistake in marketing. 

Specific actions include:

  • Additional needed information can be shared by a QR code.
  • But this doesn't mean that a church bulletin or newsletter still isn’t a powerful church marketing tool. It's likely the one thing visitors and members will take home with them and retain for information about the church.
  • Other brief flyers or booklets fall into this same category such as a directory of church ministries with contact information, a pictorial directory, and a general information piece about the church. This is all you really need on paper.

 Level Two Strategies – Social Media and Technology

Introduction – In our rapidly evolving digital age, even churches need to stay updated and get their message out. This isn’t just about getting more people to show up. It’s about spreading positivity, community, and spirituality in the most effective ways possible. You might have engaged with a newly revised website, issue regular social media posts, and offer other information on different media platforms, but how effective is it. 

One clear test of this is to make an inquiry on Google or elsewhere online asking about “churches in your community” or “local worship services” and see what pops up. Also Google your Business Account and ask the congregation if they have been on the website recently or saw something in a recent post. Having a presence is one part of the need, the other is the systems and ways in which they are driven and promoted. Social media is key in both communicating with current congregational members and in reaching and informing others in the community. The average person in the US spends over 2 hours a day on social media. By creating social media accounts on platforms like Facebook or Instagram and engaging with them regularly, you can reach a large swath of people. Here are some of the means: 

  • The church website is central to your entire online presence. It is a 24/7 outreach and hospitality leader, and it serves as the coordinator in tying all the other pillars of communication together. It’s where a church can communicate with every hour of the day and invite them to visit in person or take the next step online. Specific actions include:
  • Virtually everyone will first visit your website before they ever step foot in the church building or attend an event; make it a memorable visit.
  • Bottom line, if your church’s current website isn’t helping us reach more people in our community and bring in more visitors every weekend, it needs a major overhaul.

 A strong, inviting website offers guests a sneak peek into what they can expect when they physically step through the doors and serves as a key communication tool for the congregation. Make sure your website is easy to use and works well on mobile devices. A great reference source is The Ultimate Guide to Church Website Builders. This is an important area for financial investment. 

  • There’s no point in having a website for a church if no one can find it on Google. This is why it’s vital that you register for and maintain a Google My Business account. When users Google your church or churches in the area, does it show your church very high in the listings, or very completely.
  • You can display and respond to Google reviews. These reviews can give users an insight into how other people have experienced your church and build credibility with potential new visitors. Maintaining accurate, up-to-date information and scheduling Google My Business posts for church and community events will enhance our church’s visibility in Google search results.

It’s also important that your information is consistent and up to date across all online platforms. 

This is because outdated information will prevent Google’s algorithm from displaying your church near the top of the search results. Therefore, accurate and up-to-date information will enable a higher ranking on Google’s search results and help people find your church. 

Specific actions include: 

  • Be aware of and use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to improve Google rankings. Simply put, SEO is the process of increasing traffic to a website from search engines. This is typically done by making sure the website has the right keywords so that it ranks higher on Google’s search results.
  • For example, a keyword could be: “contemporary” churches in your community. Your website will then rank higher on Google according to how often this keyword appears on the website. A Google or marketing expert is not necessarily needed to do this for you. Instead, use Google’s free keyword planner to help with this research. This online tool will help us find the keywords that are most relevant to your church to be included in your marketing strategy. Once you have your keywords, where can you include them to be most relevant throughout the site?

Facebook is a great place to start our church marketing, to introduce new visitors to the team and pastor, promote church events in our community, direct traffic to a church website, and post sermons and teachings that take place. It also allows you to talk one on one or through group chats and comments. There simply isn’t an easier way to get your church in front of as many people as possible as with a Facebook post.                      

Specific actions include: 

You may have an active Facebook account but is there consistency in posting. The same truths of writing are applicable here. You need to post about interesting things that take place in the church and talk one-to-one or through group chats and comments. It is also a great platform to share video content about the church. This can be anything from a video introducing the pastors or highlights from an outreach event. 

Facebook is not as dominant of a social media as it once was. It is essential to check out other platforms and determine what might be best based upon identified goals. Each has a unique focus. 

  • To make things easier, consider church management software that has social media functions built into it. There are paid versions but also free tools like Buffer and Hootsuite that can take a lot of the legwork out of posting by allowing you to schedule posts ahead of time.
  • A designated team to coordinate all social media is essential.
  • Email Marketing is another tool that is underused or used in the wrong ways. Email marketing lets you track the effectiveness of campaigns, develop curate subscriber lists, and set up autoresponders (a tool that automatically responds to emails, such as a welcome message for new members/subscribers). Specific actions include:
  • The number of email users is set to grow to 4.6 billion in 2025, making up more than half of the expected world population. I can be u to sed to improve church engagement. It’s affordable, simple to manage, and a great way to build community organically.
  • A great way to ensure growing an email list is by having an email sign-up sheet at church gatherings so that members and visitors can provide their information for future use. You can use email to discuss everything happening at the church, from events and announcements to encouragements and prayer requests.
  • If you are still trying to sort through a big pile of old AOL and Hotmail addresses that keep bouncing back, you are doing it wrong. You need to make use of a free email marketing tool that segments audiences, helps create correspondence, and reach people through different messaging.

Level Three Strategies – More Advanced Technology  

Texting is the most effective channel of communication today and is also the most powerful way to connect with young adults. Over 23 billion text messages are sent every single day and the vast majority of them, over 93%, are opened (only 20% of emails are opened); and nearly half of all text messages are replied to. So, since most churches are not using this technology in their communications tool belt, they have fallen behind the times.                                                                                                 

Specific actions include: 

If you are looking to communicate with your congregation and your community in more relevant ways, you need to develop a texting system. The need is for a system because you simply don’t have the time to personally and individually text message all the people you want to reach, but an automated texting system certainly can. It uses the best technology and leverage for a church, allowing you to communicate authentically and effectively. Ultimately, it frees you up to spend more time on ministry.

Texting can help you be in front of the congregation and community in a busy world, to remind them of a sermon series or an event coming up – or just to follow up and let them know that you care. Texting is crucial for follow-up messaging.

 A church app is also an effective tool for helping users to learn, connect, and grow with their church family. An app for churches may include any number of custom features, but the must haves for churches are push notifications, an events calendar with upcoming events, a digital giving opportunity, and a media player.

Specific actions include: 

A church app is a great way to give churchgoers the chance to sign up for events, see what team members are up to, and get alerts through posts and push notifications. You don’t have to hire an expensive designer to get your very own top-quality, personalized church app. A design your own church app is available, and the best part is it can be done for free. 

Launching a podcast is more than just talking. It’s an opportunity to share sermons, discuss scriptures, and engage with churchgoers (and potential churchgoers) on a more intimate level. You don’t need a studio setup that rivals the best in Hollywood. A decent microphone, some editing software, and some dedication are all it takes.

Specific actions include: 

Podcasting is more than just a trend; they are a powerful communication tool. Most podcast listeners subscribe and regularly tune in. Because of the habits and behavior of podcast listeners, a church can consistently engage with the community, extending their influence beyond Sunday services. It's a platform that keeps keep a message in the minds of listeners all week long, fostering a deeper connection and sense of community. The future of podcasting is clear, it's something churches should consider. 

Streaming live church services requires a keen understanding of the technology   involved as well as the behaviors and preferences of those we are trying to reach. However, once you get a handle on the basics, livestreaming can open a multitude of doors for evangelism and engagement for a church. 

Specific actions include: 

Online ministry opportunities flourish once you start viewing live streaming church services as a conduit for increased personal connections and in-person attendance. For example, someone who’s “spiritually curious” or looking for a new church home is probably more likely to check out your church’s online presence (website, social media, and, yes, livestream) before visiting in-person. In this scenario, a high-quality livestream is a church’s best chance to get someone through the front door. The good news is that you can start with current Zoom technology and move into livestreaming. 

Again, we also cannot hope to take every strategy on at the same time and will need to set priorities and phase in strategies as they best fit. 

The Specific actions include notation is only included to provide more specific direction. 


Church marketing is a crucial aspect of any church's growth and success. A comprehensive approach is necessary to coordinate efforts and maintain consistency. 

It starts with low and no tech strategies, progresses through current applications that can be enhanced, and moves into higher levels of technology. In today's digital age, online marketing is more important than ever. Churches that do not have a strong online presence may struggle to reach new congregants and may miss out on opportunities to engage with their current members. But this does not mean that you must do everything at once. It is important to establish priorities based upon current capabilities and finances, but also commit to the broader picture.

You could wait until everything is perfectly aligned for marketing to get started, but you would not be fulfilling the obligation contained in The Great Commission. Church marketing is a communication strategy that promotes your church's mission, vision, and culture to those who currently attend your church and those you hope will attend in the future. 

A marketing plan is a roadmap to keep your efforts focused and on track.  

The following resources, among others, were used in the completion of this templet: The Lead Pastor 

Bob Price, Penn Price Management Group