Last month I joined representatives from nine ministries in Orlando for the fourth annual Communications and Marketing Summit. The ministries attending included The Navigators, Cru, Intervarsity, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life, Wycliffe, Youth for Christ, Athletes in Action, and Coalition of Christian Outreach. In a spirit of partnership each ministry shared insight on their successes and setbacks in the realm of communications and marketing in ministry at a national level.
My favorite session was titled “Moving Marketing into the Heart of your Mission.” One of our biggest challenges as marketers in a Christian ministry isn’t the actual marketing; it’s educating our ministry staff on what we mean by the term “marketing” (it’s not a dirty word!) using non-industry jargon. The end goal is twofold. First, we want to see staff take advantage of all that marketing can offer their ministry efforts. Second, we want to demonstrate that marketers in a ministry context are equally passionate holders of their ministry’s vision who simply specializes in a particular function.
The three panelists leading this session provided the group with several practical steps someone in a role like mine can take to bridge this gap with the people we’re serving. Now back at Navigators headquarters, I’m looking for opportunities to apply what I’ve learned. As I write this update I’m helping to shape three major communication initiatives, including the roll out of a new strategic plan for our staff. I’m hoping that, in the midst of all the tactical planning, I’m able to influence our staff toward a more positive opinion of marketing within the work of The Navigators.