Six Churches Who are “Nailing It” with Their Branding

The Auxano Team has spent some time reflecting on last month’s Guest Experience Boot Camp. We remain energized by how God brought together 25 unique teams of leaders to take an honest look at, and design a powerful moment for, every First Time Guest that visits their church. Auxano’s Guest Experience specialist, Bob Adams, and I also love hearing the resultant stories of significant breakthrough emerging from seemingly insignificant hospitality tweaks. We are already planning two or three more Guest Experience Boot Camps for 2018 in strategic cities across the U.S. The Guest Experience Boot Camps for 2018 have been scheduled: check here for details. If you register before 1/1/18, use the code EarlyBird20 at checkout to receive a 20% discount!

Looking back, one brand name appeared multiple times during the Guest Experience BootCamp: Disney.
Specifically the amazing attention to detail and user-experience that the Guest Services Team from Walt Disney exhibits every day. Using Disney as an example of an organization that creates “repeat” visits, should be pretty obvious and natural. Churches can stand to learn a lot from how well Disney welcomes and cares for every Guest.
It got me to wondering though, what if churches patterned themselves after other major commercial brands? What would those churches be like?
Starbucks Church – At this congregation, you can count on the pastors to seem very friendly and interested in you, but never actually learn your real name. The environment is styled and modern, creating some great hang time among your friends with each visit. In reality though, they are unapologetically over-tithing you. Nobody attending the Starbucks Church actually listens to the messages, as most are there just because everyone else is too.
Walmart Church – This big-box church experience is very generic and, as a result, everyone who visits can find something they like. The worship here is loud and there is a lot of it… but the quality of worship is suspect, at best. Church leadership is proud of their informality and accessibility to everyone, it’s just a bit weird that so many people are in their pajamas.
Apple Church – With this paradigm shifting congregation, every other church in town simultaneously hates and imitates them at the same time. However, just when you start to love them as an attender, they introduce a new location and/or staff. In fact, you can count on something major to change at about the same time every year, in the name of “just one more thing.”
Blockbuster Church – This once-mega body now holds a bit too tightly onto a grossly outdated experience, believing that tradition and their historic size will one day be on their side. The core belief here is that the church will return to past glory, and every leadership meeting devolves into trying to remember what worked “that time” a few years ago. As the years go by, and culture keeps changing, keen observers can look forward to this church’s building becoming a crossfit gym, hipster design firm or furniture rental store.
Target Church – See above description of Walmart Church and think just a bit nicer and cleaner.
Chick-Fil-A Church – Wait. Isn’t this a thing already? This church is always, and I mean always, crowded and staffed by an unnaturally happy ministry team. In fact, it’s borderline weird how much pleasure these folks get out of doing their jobs. Every Sunday morning, you start out thinking you will visit another church, but somehow always end up back here. When every other church in town is open for mid-week ministry activities, they are rebelliously closed. And their youth ministry STILL reaches more than every other hype-church’s (insert “fun” food or cult classic movie night) Awesome Wednesday Youth Group.
Read more from Bryan here.
Download PDF

Tags: ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >


Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >


What say you? Leave a comment!

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

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.