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:
- Your strengths as discerned and expressed through your Vision Frame (step one)
- 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:
- Reviewing the Vision Frame and consider the first experience of your ministry
- Ask each leader to select two “slices” from the palette
- Tally the responses and select the top-two “slices” giving you four words total
- Create a hyphenated two-word promise by picking the best word from each of the top “slices”
For example your promise might be:
- Freedom-new beginning