This Week at St. Stephen’s–April 28, 2013

“BRANDING” ST. STEPHEN’S

Apr 28aThis week, following our 10:30 service, we will talk about “selling” St. Stephen’s. No, we’re not going anywhere. But we are considering how best to present ourselves to the wider community and therefore, in that sense alone, “selling” ourselves.

Churches never had to do this in the past. They enjoyed a central and even privileged place within the social fabric. Everyone knew what churches did and how they contributed to the common good. That’s because just about everyone belonged to a church, or knew people who did. Now, when a grocery clerk has to ask what a clerical collar stands for, we know times have changed.

As the church recedes farther and farther from public notice, we must become intentional, entrepreneurial even, to win a place in the modern world. So we must be as clear as we can about who we are, what we are about, and what we have to offer the wider community. Then we must employ all the means available to us to present ourselves to that community.

In the marketing world this is called “branding”. A product becomes known by a certain image, a Apr 28bcertain impression, which plants itself in the public’s mind. But that impression must be both accurate and compelling. If it is not accurate, it is false advertising. If it is not compelling, it simply fails.

So as odd as it may sound, yes, we are preparing to “sell” St. Stephen’s. Take part in the conversation, if you can. It’s your church.

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