5 Reasons Storytelling Is Your Most Important Church Marketing Tool

Your church's marketing strategy is unique to you. There are lots of great ways to market, but whatever collateral or platforms you use, base your outreach in stories.

November 28th, 2016

When it comes to church marketing, there are a myriad of options to consider: video, website, mail outs, Facebook ads, billboards, social media. With an unending list of options, how do you know what’s best for your church?

When it comes to church marketing, the options are endless. And every church is different. Maybe your church excels in creating videos, while other churches have more success focusing on SEO, or innovative mail outs.

But there is one marketing tool that is more important than any other — universally, across the board — and that tool is storytelling.

What makes storytelling so important and so powerful? The following five reasons will answer that question, and hopefully persuade you to make storytelling central to your church’s marketing.

1. Storytelling Is The Most Powerful Form Of Human Communication

And that’s not hyperbole. That’s science. Storytelling is the only type of communication that actually forces our brains to focus. Up to a third of our waking hours are spent in a daydreaming state. We’re thinking about what’s for dinner, or about our Netflix series finale, but storytelling is unique because it’s the only type of communication that can snap us out of this daydreaming state and force our brains to focus.

2. Look At Jesus As A Model For Storytelling

Look no further than Jesus as a great teacher that understood storytelling. In Robert Stein’s book The Method and Message of Jesus’ Teachings, he takes inventory of all of Jesus’ teachings throughout the synoptic Gospels and finds that no less than 35% of the time Jesus used storytelling. This means that one third of Jesus’ teaching was communicated through story. Ask yourself this, When was the last time our church spent at least a third of a service, a sermon, or a marketing campaign on storytelling?

3. Storytelling Is A Subjective Form of Communication

Subjective communication is not confrontational and doesn’t stir conflict. Stories don’t focus on stating facts. In church marketing this is especially key, because religion, faith, and church can be negative triggers for people with bad experiences or those antagonistic toward God for whatever reason.

When you share a story with a personal account of someone’s interaction with your church and God, that story and personal account can’t be refuted by someone else. This means less conflict, a less confrontational form of communication, and more interaction with your marketing from more people.

4. Storytelling Creates A Shared Experience

Because the goal of storytelling isn’t to explain facts, but rather to share experiences, the people you’re marketing to can bring their own history and baggage to your stories without feeling judged. They can choose to enter into the story at whatever level is comfortable or meaningful to them.

I cannot overstate how big a win this is for your church’s marketing efforts. Let’s say your marketing is centered around a story of great loss and how a family found faith and strength in God even through a season of immeasurable pain. This story allows more people to come to the table and share in this family’s experience because storytelling is the most inclusive form of communication.

5. You Don’t Have To Hand Over Your Marketing To Professionals

Storytelling is the most important tool in your church marketing arsenal because it sets you free from hiring professional copy writers or a marketing firm. Churches are notorious for thinking they have to be clever, use gimmicks or reinvent the wheel. Instead, how about simply focusing on the most timeless form of communication: telling a story. Your church is full of everyday stories that will engage people better than slick marketing ever will.

Conclusion

And there you have it! Five reasons why storytelling is the most powerful church marketing tool at your disposal. Because the undeniable truth is — whether it’s primitive drawings on a cave wall or Instagram — storytelling always wins. Always.

If you’ve got questions, leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.