Developing a Tagline for Your Church, Step 2: Gospel Promise

Step two in this process is really quite fun. You now want to determine the best promise for your church to make to people outside of the church, in a way that will resonate with people inside of the church.

An import aspect of this promise is understanding that all products and services make a promise. And most of them over-promise. For example…

  • Coca Cola isn’t promising quality sugar water, it’s promising happiness
  • Southwest Airlines doesn’t provide a safe, on-time plane ride, it provides freedom
  • Mary Kay doesn’t sell cosmetics but offers life enrichment for women


The exciting thing for the church is that we don’t over-promise when we make bold statements about transcendent ideals like happiness, freedom and life enrichment. For the church stewards the Gospel of Jesus Christ which can really deliver on the promise!

Yet, I do recommend that you refine your promise based on two criteria that you use to filter all of the potential promises that the gospel can make:

  1. Your strengths as discerned and expressed through your Vision Frame (step one)
  2. The strength of your church culture as experienced by an outsider in the  first four weeks


Since we dealt with the first criteria in step one, let’s talk about the second criteria.

Usually a church reflects one of its strengths better than others as you experience the church for the first time. For example a small church might create an intimate environment where a large church may offer inspiring teaching. And then think about it a step further. Is the intimacy of a small church more about acceptance or about transformation? Is the inspiration of the large church environment geared toward challenging a next level of growth or getting started with a second chance on life?

In order to discern this first impression I look for:

  • An honest assessment of the “first-touch” environment, usually, but not always, the worship service.
  • A good understanding of both worship style and personality of worship leadership
  • A good understanding of the primary teacher’s style, gifting and personality
  • Comments made from guests and membership classes/processes


Why do we look at this initial exposure to the church? While the church hopefully fulfills all of the facets of a gospel-community, it’s opportunistic to align the face of your church through branding and marketing to the strength of your upfront experience. It creates a seamless connection for your guests! In the long run, it most likely positions the greatest strength of your culture.

To determine your promise, use the Ministry Brand Promise Palette developed by our team at Auxano Design. Do this with your team:

  1. Reviewing the Vision Frame and consider the first experience of your ministry
  2. Ask each leader to select two “slices” from the palette
  3. Tally the responses and select the top-two “slices” giving you four words total
  4. Create a hyphenated two-word promise by picking the best word from each of the top “slices”

For example your promise might be:

  • Authentic-excitement
  • Growth-intimacy
  • Freedom-new beginning


GO TO Step THREE: Brainstorm many possible tag lines

Return to Church Tagline Post Overview

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Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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