Make Marketing Matter to Your Church with Christian Ray Flores

Modern Church Leader feat. Christian Ray Flores
Make Marketing Matter to Your Church feat. Christian Ray Flores on Modern Church Leader

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Make Marketing Matter to Your Church

Marketing is an art and a skill. It requires creativity, innovation, and an understanding of how to connect with people. 

However, churches often overlook marketing as an important tool for the church’s success to reach people. That is why churches commit one of the biggest promotional mistakes by thinking that they're going to reach people by just having a good service. 

But that's not enough anymore—if it ever was. 

People are bombarded with messages every day, and if you don't have a compelling offer, then reaching them is going to be a real challenge.

It's not just a matter of getting your message out there; it's also about knowing who you want to reach and how you will reach them. And marketing plays into all of this—it's essential to any successful outreach strategy.

What does this mean for churches? 

It means that if you're serious about reaching more people—if you want your ministry to grow—then you need to pay attention to marketing.  It may seem like an intimidating topic, but with the right approach, marketing can be a powerful tool to help your church thrive.

Marketing isn't just about making your church look good—it's about ensuring people know what your church is all about. The first impression you make will set their expectations for the rest of their experience with your church. 

Whether through your website, social media presence, printed materials, or online ads, marketing is an essential part of building up an image for your church that will set the tone for everything else.

You're probably wondering how you can make it all work for your church. 

That's why we've invited Christian Ray Flores, a marketing expert and co-founder of Third Drive Media, to share his insights on how you can make sure your marketing efforts are targeted and effective. 

He'll also be sharing some of the transformative marketing principles that have helped churches all over the world. If you want to learn more about this, check out his course Transformative Church Marketing.

“If you don't love, understand, embrace and improve the art of marketing, you will not have an impact on whatever it is that you have.”
-Christian Ray Flores

Christian Ray Flores is a church leader and entrepreneur who has helped build several companies and is co-founder of Third Drive, a venture development company focusing on strategy and marketing for startups and faith-based organizations.

If you're looking for a more strategic approach to your church marketing, then this episode is for you!

By the end of this episode, you will learn:

  • How marketing can help your church 
  • Reasons why more young people are not coming to your church
  • How to use content marketing to grow your church
  • Professional tips for improving your church's website
  • An overview of the Transformative Church Marketing Course

Resources Mentioned:

Know more about Christian: christianrayflores.com
Like Christian on Facebook: Christian Ray Flores
Follow Christian on Instagram: christianrayflores
Follow Christian on Twitter: @ChristianRay
Check out his course: Transformative Church Marketing
Like and subscribe to Christian’s Youtube Channel: Headspace by Christian Ray Flores

Other Episodes You May be Interested In:

The Role Marketing Plays in Church Growth with Kelvin Co
How Churches Can Benefit from Using the Metaverse with Dave Adamson
How to Make Church Growth Happen with Kevin Geer

Here's a glance at this episode…

[2:35] I think what people misassociate with marketing is that marketing is not a gimmick. Marketing is value communicated at scale.

[4:14] if you want to have an impact in this world, in whatever area of life, and it doesn't matter which one, if you don't love, understand, embrace and improve the art of marketing, you will not have an impact on whatever it is that you have.

[7:49] When I became a pastor, I was shocked, honestly, that the churches don't use technology and marketing to market the best thing ever, which is the gospel. There's really literally nothing more valuable on the planet than the good news of Jesus Christ. 

[12:49] The first impression actually matters. The same thing applies to your website. If your website is confusing, people will not go deeper. It's the first impression. Like you might have an amazing community, great preaching, a loving community, and all kinds of cool stuff going on mission work and service, and people won't visit because they will check your website first. And it's completely uninteresting.

[27:02] If you're a preacher, and if all you do is preach on Sundays, and you don't create media, create media, you're not out in the community serving the poor, you're not doing something that is beyond the Sunday service box. You are you don't have a reputation

podcast transcript

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Christian Ray Flroes (00:00):

Marketing is not a gimmick. Marketing is value communicated at scale. That's my definition. If I have something that is going to improve your life, and if I communicate it well to you so that it improves your life and at scale, obviously, because it's not one-on-one conversations, it's just this broader thing. So that's why it's an art. It's the ability to have a conversation with many people that communicates value that changes their life. That's what marketing is.

Narrator (00:29):

Welcome to the Modern Church Leader, where you'll hear executive pastors share practical tactics and strategies that churches are using right now to thrive in our digital world and advance the Kingdom of God. Here's your host, Frank Barry.

Frank Barry (00:43):

Hey guys, welcome to another episode of Modern Church Leader. Joined by actually a good buddy, Christian, all the way out in Austin, Texas, who is pastoring a church, but also runs a business on the side and I think just loves kind of church marketing and communications like crazy. So, we're going to have a fun conversation today.

Christian Ray Flroes (01:04):

Yes, I do. I think there's a lot of magic in it and that a lot of pastors ignore it, unfortunately, and there's a lot to learn there.

Frank Barry (01:12):

I mean, I think, yeah, pastors are just kind of church leaders. You don't really hear the topic of church marketing being a thing-

Christian Ray Flroes (01:22):

No, you don't.

Frank Barry (01:24):

It's out there for sure. It's a thing. I mean, we actually acquired a company called That CC or That Church Conference a couple years ago and their whole audience is church marketers. But it's a niche thing, it's a certain type of crew that's into that thing and it's just not... Like my church doesn't have a marketer, you know what I'm saying?

Christian Ray Flroes (01:47):

I know, yeah. Which to me, it's surprising, because the job of a preacher is marketing.

Frank Barry (01:55):

Yeah, a hundred percent.

Christian Ray Flroes (01:58):

That's what we do, marketing. And I think the problem is that people have this, it's like a dirty word, right? In the church world.

Frank Barry (02:05):

Right.

Christian Ray Flroes (02:05):

I literally had a conference. I was part of a conference on church innovation. And I think a buddy of mine and I, I think both of us were speaking about it, but anyway, there was a Q and A at the end and someone in the back was like, and it's this gentleman, a great guy but he was like, "I feel like we don't need those gimmicks, right? The word of God stands on its own, blah, blah, blah." And it really resonated with me as something, a sentiment that is pretty prevalent. And the problem is that I think what people misassociate with marketing is that marketing is not a gimmick, marketing is value communicated at scale. That's my definition. Value, which basically, hey, if I have something that is going to improve your life and if I communicate it well to you so that improves your life, and at scale, obviously, because it's not one-on-one conversations, it's just this broader thing. So that's why it's an art. It's the ability to have a conversation with many people that communicates value that changes their life. That's what marketing is-

Frank Barry (03:10):

I mean, in a sense-

Christian Ray Flroes (03:10):

Well, that's what preaching is.

Frank Barry (03:12):

Every church on the planet, I'm going to use a really simple example, every church on the planet does announcements.

Christian Ray Flroes (03:19):

Right. That's marketing, yeah.

Frank Barry (03:22):

Doing an announcement is marketing. Just fundamentally you're saying something about something that somebody needs to know about or go to or attend or register for or whatever it is. You have an announcement and it could be as simple as like, Hey, the potluck is coming on Saturday-

Christian Ray Flroes (03:40):

Precisely.

Frank Barry (03:40):

We're going to be here, here and here at this time, like that's marketing. You're communicating, letting people know about it, hopefully trying to make it exciting so that people want to come.

Christian Ray Flroes (03:51):

Yes.

Frank Barry (03:52):

So, we're all doing it. Every church is doing it in some form, but I do think that understanding what marketing is and not thinking... It's like even sales, right? Sometimes people, whether it's sales and marketing in that bucket, they get icky feelings about it.

Christian Ray Flroes (04:08):

Yeah.

Frank Barry (04:09):

And it doesn't have to be icky or bad or any of that, right?

Christian Ray Flroes (04:13):

Well, in fact, if you want to have impact in this world in whatever area of life and it doesn't matter which one, if you don't love, understand, embrace and improve the art of marketing, you will not have impact for whatever it is that you're having. You just won't. So it's much better to accept the very, very, very simple fact that value communicated at scale is a good thing. As a matter of fact, Jesus did it and the apostles did it. I mean, there's so many marketing strategies right there in the Bible, in the gospels, in the book of Acts, in the epistles.

Frank Barry (04:52):

That sounds like a book you need to write.

Christian Ray Flroes (04:54):

Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it's everywhere-

Frank Barry (04:59):

Marketing strategies from the Bible.

Christian Ray Flroes (04:59):

It's everywhere. Absolutely. Technology-

Frank Barry (05:01):

I feel like I should look it... That book might be out there. Someone probably wrote that, it's got to be out there.

Christian Ray Flroes (05:04):

It's got to be there. Yeah, it's got to be there. I have a list of things that completely correlate and I'm not stretching it. They're just there in the Bible, right?

Frank Barry (05:11):

Right.

Christian Ray Flroes (05:11):

So all of the methods that we use are in the Bible already, we just sort of recognize them for what they are and then we want to use them to spread the gospel.

Frank Barry (05:20):

And we're specifically going to talk a lot about like reaching younger audiences, effectively doing things online, but just quickly, you've been on the podcast before but there might be some listeners that didn't catch that episode or don't know much about you. Like give us, how'd you get into pastoring and church leading and thinking about marketing for churches and all this stuff?

Christian Ray Flroes (05:41):

Okay. If you want to hear the full story, because it's a crazy complicated and confusing story, look me up on YouTube and it's there. I have a YouTube channel called Headspace by Christian Ray Flores. And there's one there that is basically my life story. Like it took me forever to actually sit down and do it, but it's like a half an hour crazy, crazy, all of the turns and twists and turns.

Christian Ray Flroes (06:03):

Not all of them actually, but very high level. But basically the quick version of it is that I grew up on three different continents, ended up being in show business and I became a Christian at the height of my career as a pop artist in Eastern Europe and I became a Christian. I was like really wrecked by fame as most people are. And I became a Christian and two years later I felt the call to go in ministry and start preaching and leading churches.

Christian Ray Flroes (06:33):

And I've led churches in Russia, Ukraine, Philadelphia, Palm Beach, Los Angeles. And my last sort of thing, it's here in Austin, Texas. We planted a church almost a decade ago called Tribe. And it was sort of on my heart to plant a church and we did it here. And one of the things that... So that's sort of the quick thing, but also we raise capital for startups. We have a marketing company, one of the sort of focuses of the company, just because I'm a pastor is to help church leaders communicate better and for churches to grow and reach more people, especially young people. So that's the quick version of it, right?

Frank Barry (07:16):

Yeah. So the destination currently, Austin, Texas Tribe church, been at it for 10 years and doing cool stuff. And some of this borne out of all the work you've done there, right?

Christian Ray Flroes (07:28):

Yeah, because what I've learned when I became a pastor and I already come from show business, right? So I have all these bells and whistles and understanding how culture spreads, how to communicate. So there's a shift and a ripple effect and it's the amplifying sort of power of that kind of thing. So when I became a pastor, I was shocked, honestly, that churches don't use technology and marketing to market the best thing ever, which is the gospel. Like there's really literally nothing more valuable on the planet than the good news of Jesus Christ. There's nothing of more value. It has eternal value. And that one thing we don't promote, don't amplify, don't use technology, don't try to learn or master. I mean, to me, that's just...

Christian Ray Flroes (08:20):

And it's in the Bible as well, like the apostles did it. They totally did a lot of marketing. So I can give you a whole list of things that they did with those completely a hundred percent marketing. So, I think it's part of the pain that I felt. I was like, oh my gosh, we need help and we need to help people. And we used that obviously when we planted our church here in Tribe and it's attracted a lot of young people and we already planted another church called the East Side here in Austin. And we sort of used both my church building expertise and my marketing expertise to launch this thing called Third Drive Faith. We help people with their marketing, basically.

Frank Barry (09:04):

Yeah. Yeah, I love that. Well, I mean, let's dig into it. I mean, I know you're releasing some... Like you've been doing it, but now you're kind of trying to produce some of this to make online courses and whatnot, but really helping churches with marketing and communications.

Christian Ray Flroes (09:18):

Yeah.

Frank Barry (09:20):

Where does a church start or where are you trying to jump in and help them get a vision for doing this better?

Christian Ray Flroes (09:27):

Yeah. So we released this, we just launched the course called transformational church marketing, right? And I'm sure you're going to be able to provide a link to the audience in whatever platforms you are. But basically the reason we did that is twofold. One, is we want to give access to the things that we know, and we do all the time for churches, to anyone in your church team. And I'm talking about anyone meaning, beginning from the pastor, anyone who's interested in how do we do this better? How do we attract more people, right? All the way to media teams, staff, whoever's involved in doing that. It's great for a team to learn together because if you want to perfect or if you want to learn a new skillset, you want to do it with accountability and a plan and a strategy, right?

Christian Ray Flroes (10:18):

And also when we do work for people, we don't really teach people what we know, we just do the work for them. So the course is an amazing opportunity, if you're willing to do the work and to learn, to actually be transformed, that's why we call it transformational on some amazing, powerful things you can do communication-wise and strategy-wise, and literally from how you preach all the way to how you communicate to your team, to your congregation, to the outside world. So that's essentially the why behind the course. But if you ask me, okay, what's the gist of it?

Frank Barry (10:54):

Yeah. Give us like, what's the Cliff's Notes books? Like we do Cliff Notes here and then when people want to go get some more, they can.

Christian Ray Flroes (11:04):

So I have this framework that I introduced there because I wanted to explain it in a simple way, is that the reason why more young people are not coming to your church is the exact same reason why conversations don't happen at a party or visiting a friend's home. The exact same reason translates, right? So I'll give you a quick breakdown. So imagine yourself going to like a reception or like a barbecue or something like that, where people are just in different corners hanging out-

Frank Barry (11:33):

4th of July? Just happened.

Christian Ray Flroes (11:34):

Yeah, exactly, 4th of July, for example. Okay, so imagine you go into a buddy, a friend's, an acquaintance's home, and there's all kinds of people you don't know, right? What are the things that attract you to people and the things that detract you from people? Well, if somebody's body language is not engaging, right? Like literally, you're like uninterested or it looks like you just rolled out bed, right? You probably won't like run to that person, right? It just won't happen. And the reason why that is, there's a psychological that researchers have come up with this term called cognitive evaluation. So as a human being, a lot of stuff that you do is on autopilot. And you're programmed literally from like being a caveman to evaluate what's essential for survival and what's dangerous to you and then like remove everything else. That's called cognitive evaluation. That's why you make judgment calls on people at first impression, right? That's precisely why when you go to a reception, you don't just roll out of bed and go to a reception. Why? It's not because you're a vain person. You already understand that first impressions actually matter, right?

Christian Ray Flroes (12:52):

Well, the same thing applies to your website. If your website is confusing, people will not go deeper. It's a first impression. Like you might have an amazing community, great preaching, loving community, all kinds of cool stuff going on, mission work, service, and people won't visit because they'll check your website first and it's completely uninteresting. It doesn't stand out. The first impression matters. So you're confusing people with your website.

Frank Barry (13:22):

Right.

Christian Ray Flroes (13:23):

Right. So the second reason in a conversation-

Frank Barry (13:25):

And I'll just pause. Like I've seen a lot of church websites and most of the church websites I see are pretty bad.

Christian Ray Flroes (13:32):

Yeah.

Frank Barry (13:32):

And it's not because the people behind them are bad. It's just like, for whatever reason, making a great website as a church when you don't have people there that are really into kind of online marketing and all that kind of stuff, if you don't have that skillset or those volunteers or whatever, you just end up with a really-

Christian Ray Flroes (13:54):

And what you're doing is literally, you're detracting people from visiting you, especially young people because they care.

Frank Barry (14:01):

Right. And nowadays, like a lot of people are going to go find you online first, right? They're going to look for a church in their community, they're going to look for a church that has X, Y, or Z and they're going to go spot you online before they show up.

Christian Ray Flroes (14:12):

Even if they don't Google you, let's say you meet me at a coffee house and you go, Hey, do you go to church? Yeah, I'm interested. Okay, here's the URL or here's the address. They won't come visit until they check out the website.

Frank Barry (14:23):

Yeah.

Christian Ray Flroes (14:24):

The majority of people, right? So your first impression is confusing. You're literally detracting people from coming to your church. And I have all kinds of research and examples where I would ask young people, why did you come? And I have literally quotes from people why exactly they pull up. For example, three websites, they decide on that one and they tell you why, right? Okay, so the second reason is that you don't contribute to the conversation. Like at a party, like imagine you and I meet and we don't know each other and you go, what's up? And people do small talk because they want to find commonality. So you jump from one subject to another, to another, to another. And I basically just go, yeah, whatever. What you'll do is you'll move on, right? Because I'm not contributing to the conversation.

Frank Barry (15:13):

Right. Yeah, you're boring, whatever-

Christian Ray Flroes (15:15):

I'm not trying to find common language, right? So for example, I love The Godfather, right? I think it's the best movie ever made. So if somebody brings out The Godfather, I will perk up, right?

Frank Barry (15:26):

Right.

Christian Ray Flroes (15:27):

And what I'll do immediately when I perk up is that I'll start contributing to the conversation. Hey, did you know this little... I have all kinds of completely useless trivia about The Godfather. But if you bring up The Godfather because you're interested in it and I sort of start contributing, you and I, like we are in the zone, right? On a website or on social media, how that looks like, especially with younger people, is that you don't talk about people that interest young people. In your sermons, you don't talk about those things. Sometimes it's just taboo, actually. The things that will make them perk up are not displayed prominently in any way, in any place you communicate. Which basically means you're not contributing to the conversation, which has the exact same effect. Like people will look at it, give you a blank face and move on, right?

Frank Barry (16:19):

Right. Just pause on that one for a sec.

Christian Ray Flroes (16:22):

Yeah.

Frank Barry (16:22):

When it comes to talking about things that the younger generations are interested in, give me three, four, five, examples of things that are relevant right now, that churches should-

Christian Ray Flroes (16:34):

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So for example, for the youth in the US, sexual justice, sexuality, gender roles, authenticity, community, mental health, right? For youth at any time, at any age, 10,000 years ago, and 10,000 years from now; sex relationships, forging their own path, instant gratification versus long term gain, intergenerational relationships, belonging, right? Where's my place in this world? That's like timeless stuff. Completely timeless stuff. That's what they're interested in, right? So, if that's not prominently shown anywhere. Basically, what you're coming across as, as a church, is self-focused. Okay, so this is the next thing. It's self-focus, right? So you're not contributing, you're self-focused.

Christian Ray Flroes (17:24):

Okay, what does that self-focus mean? It means, imagine you and I are hanging out and all I want to talk about is me, how long will you stay in the conversation?

Frank Barry (17:36):

Yeah. Eventually, you try to find the other person to come join the conversation or I need to go to the bathroom or-

Christian Ray Flroes (17:43):

Yeah, exactly, right? But now think about a typical church website. What is communicated in a typical church website? Where do we meet? What do we believe in? What hours do we meet? What the address is. Who the pastor is. Who the staff is. What's our next sermon series? That's it.

Frank Barry (18:04):

Right.

Christian Ray Flroes (18:05):

You are coming across as self-focused. It's the same effect that you have in a conversation. But if you display there a passion about something, involvement in the community, some relevant sermon series topics, that would go, that's interesting, I've never heard that. In all kinds of different ways, right? Imagery that displays a range of interests and multi-generational, multiethnic joy, engagement. You are not coming across as self-focused, you're coming across as others focused. You are in tune, you have the pulse. You feel the pulse of a generation, right? So does that make sense?

Frank Barry (18:50):

Yeah, totally. I want to go look at your website and see if you're doing that.

Christian Ray Flroes (18:55):

And you will. Okay, so the fourth one. You want to hear about one more?

Frank Barry (19:03):

Yeah, let's keep going.

Christian Ray Flroes (19:03):

And I have the ultimate, the fifth one. The fourth one is, you're not offering a map to the promised land, right? I'll explain what that is. Imagine if you and I are talking about The Godfather again, right? And instead of just saying, here's some trivia, here's some trivia, isn't that amazing, isn't that scene amazing? You shift to what can we learn from that? And we can say, can you...

Christian Ray Flroes (19:34):

Like for example, I would say, this is a story of vision by Francis Ford Coppola. This is a story of endurance because people didn't want to use the actors he wanted to use, but he has this vision to use Al Pacino and Robert De Niro and the only famous actor was Marlon Brando and no one wanted to work with him because he was difficult. And he just insisted, he was like this bulldog. But also it's a story of collaboration, right? He would concede some things and really collaborate and friendships of different people doing different things for the movie, because no movie is made by the director. And the lighting and the camera thing and how they were going over budget and how they would just press and plead. And it's this dramatic thing about doing something that ends up being an 11 Oscar nominations film and a trilogy at the end.

Christian Ray Flroes (20:32):

So it's a lot you can learn about leadership, about creativity, about character, about perseverance. So that conversation is now giving you and I lessons and a map to the promised land. Oh, we could be like that in our business, in our church, in our leadership, right? The reason I tell you this as an illustration, it engages you because you leave a conversation like that if you have a barbecue like that, you feel elevated. You go, man, this guy's amazing. I feel I left a better person at the end of it, right? Okay, so how does that translate into church communication and marketing, specifically? Is that even on the website, you can say, you can connect... We know that you might not be interested and that you have all these reasons not to come, but let us give you some maps to the promised land. You can find belonging this way. You can find first connections that way. You can become a member this way. We have a growth path, I think you and I sort of geeked out on that term, growth path. And this is how we're going to show it to you.

Christian Ray Flroes (21:43):

And then not only on the website, but even in general communication to the church. Let's say I preach a sermon, I preach a sermon that is way beyond just, Hey, here's a great parable and this is how it applies to us. But I create a pathway in the sermon that applies to most of the people in the room where they can go, I can actually make these three steps and get much closer to being like Christ. That's a different kind of sermon, right? So you are offering them maps, you're providing leadership in your communication, both on a sermon level, all the way to social media, all the way to content marketing website, everything. Does that make sense?

Frank Barry (22:25):

Yeah, even that last bit you were saying, I mean, in all of this kind of... And I'm thinking about it in the party, but I'm trying to apply that to my church's website. How do you take it into the social realm, right? Like Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter and Facebook, how do you help churches understand how to use those platforms and have these conversations effectively?

Christian Ray Flroes (22:50):

Well, I think micro content is the most obvious, right? Most sermons you preach, they're whatever, 20 minutes to 45 minutes. And there's whatever X amount of people who watch it live, X amount of people who watch it online, and then that is it. The value is done. And if you ask more, I mean, even if you're a decent preacher, there's so much stuff coming at us that by the end of next week, people won't remember what you said.

Frank Barry (23:21):

No.

Christian Ray Flroes (23:22):

But if you-

Frank Barry (23:25):

Maybe by the end of the day.

Christian Ray Flroes (23:28):

Maybe by the end of the day. Yeah, like that's a bad day. Like that's really depressing for somebody who's a preacher, like seriously, do I even matter? Like what I do, does it even matter? But if you take a sermon and you find two or three, one minute pieces, and then you put a title of why this matters and then subtitles under it because people watch it on the phone without sound, you've now both extended the life of the sermon and actually reached people you haven't reached in the original form of the long form thing, right? All the way from that to calls to action and things like that, that are much more, Hey, we want to move you forward rather than just some inspiration and something random, right?

Frank Barry (24:13):

Right. Yeah. No, that totally makes sense. Yeah, when it comes to these things, how are you helping people like really practically on their websites? Like, what did you do at Tribe Church in terms of what's on your website to kind of like check all these boxes?

Christian Ray Flroes (24:30):

So what we did is for example, we said, okay, most people are... And by the way, we're doing a whole new version of the website that I'm super, super excited about. That we're going to have the growth path very cleanly sort of explained. So a path to membership and a path beyond membership, right? How do you make disciples? How do you mature disciples? So, that's going to be much more well explained. But for example, on our website, what we have is these multiple maps on how to connect, right? You can find the small group near you. You can go to a Celebrate Recovery if you have addiction issues. We even have sort of a section where people like, Hey, if you're interested in rock climbing, send me an email. I mean, there's like a whole section of interests, connection points that are just more connected to this. This is the lifestyle that I lead, maybe I can connect with you that way. There're multiple ways to even connect and reach out as well.

Christian Ray Flroes (25:27):

So, when you're leaning in that way and you're thinking, Hey, you might not come to a Sunday service, but you can have three or four other options that will interest you. That's what you're doing, you're creating, you're showing a map to the promised land.

Frank Barry (25:41):

Right. No, I love that. I love that. And so that was three, right? You had three-

Christian Ray Flroes (25:47):

That was four. That was four.

Frank Barry (25:48):

That was four. Okay.

Christian Ray Flroes (25:49):

Yeah, that was four. And then the fifth one is sort of the ultimate thing, right? Are you ready for this one?

Frank Barry (25:54):

I'm ready. It's the ultimate? I mean-

Christian Ray Flroes (25:56):

It's the ultimate. Yeah, it's the ultimate. And most people won't choose to do that. Most leaders won't choose to do that, but I'm pressing into it. So imagine if we are at the same 4th of July party and we both like The Godfather, and all of a sudden Francis Ford Coppola walks in. What happens then?

Frank Barry (26:19):

I mean, we run to the door-

Christian Ray Flroes (26:21):

We run.

Frank Barry (26:22):

And bring him a hot dog or something, I don't know.

Christian Ray Flroes (26:24):

Exactly. Well, what's happening? What's happening is somebody with a reputation walked in, about something... Somebody who's already added value to our lives has walked in. I don't need small talk because I know what I'm going to talk to him about. I don't need to check him out, cognitive evaluation goes out the window because I don't have to put him in a box, I already know who he is, right? I already trust him on some level, right? So I will make myself... So it's probably going to be a crowd around that guy. Correct? Why? Because of those things.

Christian Ray Flroes (27:01):

So if you are a preacher and if all you do is preach on Sundays and you don't create media, you're not out in the community serving the poor, you're not doing something that is beyond the Sunday service box, you don't have a reputation. You have a reputation that is confined to your church, that's it. But beyond your church, you don't have a reputation. But that takes tons of work. It actually takes tons of humility because you want to serve people and you need to find out how you can serve them. It's a lot of intentionality, a lot. So I think it's easier than ever to have a YouTube channel, a podcast, to have a blog that people read. It's easier than ever to do those things. And the problem is because it's so crowded, people get discouraged because it's so much work and you don't know what the outcome is, right?

Frank Barry (27:59):

Right. What do I talk about? There's already somebody out there. I don't know how to do it. What's a microphone?

Christian Ray Flroes (28:07):

What's a microphone? What's the setup? What are the tactics? I don't even know. And you basically give up. Which I understand, that's why I'm saying this is the ultimate, right? Most people won't choose to do that, but there's a benefit to that. If you apply yourself, if you lean in, if you have a learner's heart and a passion to serve people, right? Then you will see people walking into your church who have already been served by you.

Frank Barry (28:36):

Right.

Christian Ray Flroes (28:37):

They actually come in the door because you have served them already. They come in the door because they already trust you.

Frank Barry (28:46):

Right.

Christian Ray Flroes (28:47):

Does that make sense? That's a whole different ballgame.

Frank Barry (28:50):

Right. And I mean, I think you're right. And I also think that maybe if you think sort of a very large church, megachurch kind of pastors that have a reputation, that's kind of an easy one. They have sort of a brand, they've got to that place for being good at certain things and so they attract more and more and more people because I think people are feeling served probably by the content they see online, right? So I'm just very generic-

Christian Ray Flroes (29:25):

And they have a marketing department.

Frank Barry (29:26):

They totally do. So I'm kind of generically applying this, right? But that's not most pastors, right?

Christian Ray Flroes (29:34):

Exactly.

Frank Barry (29:34):

Most pastors aren't of that size of church with the big old marketing team and all the kind of things that go with it. And we talked about how it can be hard for your normal every day, a hundred member, 200 member, 300 member church, for the pastor to think this way or to take action on it. So like, how do you help motivate pastors to do this? Or how do you help... When does it click to where they start, okay, I'm going to do this and I'm going to push through the pain of not really getting it or knowing how to do it, but I'm going to just go for it?

Christian Ray Flroes (30:10):

That's an excellent question. And I think it's true that pastors that don't have a marketing department, they have many more obstacles, right? But I can give you my reasons that I tell people about. A reason that is more of a motivation. If you have the heart and the passion to be in the city, serve the city, have the pulse of the city, you will do the work to find out what that is. And it's a very different kind of thinking. It's not a thinking of people will come to me, but it's I will come to the people. And I think that's a transformational mindset shift in itself because it will make you preach differently, just from the get go because if you have that worldview, you will speak differently, you will do sort of less lectures and more sermons because sermons are relevant.

Christian Ray Flroes (31:25):

The greatest sermon ever preached is the Sermon on the Mount. See how much of the pulse of the people he's speaking to Jesus already has. The Beatitudes. Blessed are the poor in spirit. He knows exactly what his people are feeling right now. Exactly. And then he's offering them a path out of it and telling them why they're blessed, right? So it's a great example. I mean, the sermon of Paul in Acts 17 to the Areopagus. He addresses them with the language of a wondering philosopher. He quotes their poets from memory. He acknowledges their desire to find God and their religiosity. And then also, he calls them to action, to repentance at the end. That's a man who knows the pulse of the city, which at the moment, was at the peak of influence globally, right? In the Western world, at least. Like even the Romans are trying to imitate the Greeks. He's speaking to the elite, in their language, using their terminology, knowing their culture and it's a powerful sermon because of it.

Christian Ray Flroes (32:37):

So if you're a pastor who wants to get a pulse, you will be motivated to lean in and learn and get it. And it's a painful thing, but it's going to transform who you are and because of that, it's going to transform your impact.

Frank Barry (32:50):

Right. Yeah. I love-

Christian Ray Flroes (32:51):

You will have exponential impact.

Frank Barry (32:52):

Yeah. I love just the idea of like, go get to know your city or your town, and like spend time with business people and schools and government officials and PTAs and youth sports and just whatever. There's so much going on in a town or in a city, get to know it and let that be inspiration or like food for the content that you could create. And I mean, shoot, every pastor has one of these, right? Like, they've all got their phone. It doesn't have to be high budget stuff. It can be real easy.

Christian Ray Flroes (33:32):

It's easier than ever before to create high quality content if you have the passion to do it. And I mean, it's hard work, right? But here's my encouragement. So that was my challenge to people, to pastors everywhere, I'm one of them. Here's my encouragement, we as pastors have no idea of the treasures we have inside of us. If you've been in ministry for three years, five years, 10 years, I've been ministry for 25 years, I have forgotten more things than most people know about essential life skills, about relationships, about love, about friendship, about marriage, about parenting, about how to overcome adversity, how to lean on God, how to develop a prayer life, how to create healthy rhythms, how to choose good over evil. Any given pastor who is worth, just a normal pastor, has more to offer than they can even imagine and the problem is that we don't think we do. We think we're limited to a Sunday service and a counseling session every once in a while and it's just not true.

Christian Ray Flroes (34:47):

There's no way you can equip people that way. You have so much more to offer than what you are sort of mobilizing right now. So mobilize, take the treasure that has been given to you, through God, study, seminary, experience, all of it and give it to people in ways that they can understand what this is, how that can help me in a very systematic way, right?

Frank Barry (35:16):

Yeah.

Christian Ray Flroes (35:16):

That's content creation.

Frank Barry (35:17):

Yeah, totally. Start the pastor YouTube revolution. Let's go.

Christian Ray Flroes (35:22):

Yeah, exactly. Absolutely. We need that, oh my gosh. I mean, there's so much useless stuff out there.

Frank Barry (35:35):

Yeah. So much. Oh, well man, where can people go to like check out the online course if they wanted to dig in more?

Christian Ray Flroes (35:40):

Well, you can go to thirddrivemedia.com/faith and you'll have our services. And at the very bottom of the page, you'll have a little thing basically, because we do it... The three things we do with marketing is we can do it for you, we can do it with you and you can do it yourself, we'll just teach you how to do it. So the courses, you'll do it yourself. And I honestly think that as I was developing this course, I got more and more excited because even when I'm doing something where, our team is a professional award winning team and you can see our work on thirddrivemedia.com/faith, when we do things for churches, we don't get to teach them these things. So even if we're doing it for you, take the course, because it's going to really transform the way you think about communication and marketing and stuff like that. And I'm sure your team can put the direct link as well on the episode notes and stuff.

Frank Barry (36:39):

Yeah, we'll put it in the show notes and on the blog and all the things, but thirddrivemedia.com/faith. Go check it out. I mean, every church needs to be get better at, maybe not every church, but lots of churches need to get better at kind of online marketing, upgrading their website, talking about relevant things in the digital space to attract a younger... Like we were talking before, right? Like every church that I talk to is thinking about how to attract younger people and how to help them in this current kind of day and age. So I think it's a big deal. And having a great website and making it relevant is a big part of that. So-

Christian Ray Flroes (37:18):

Yes it is.

Frank Barry (37:19):

I definitely encourage-

Christian Ray Flroes (37:20):

Sorry about my dog barking in the background.

Frank Barry (37:22):

No worries. I mean, I half-expected a kid to come in during this episode, so I got lucky. But Christian, this has been great, man. Thanks for spending some time with us today.

Christian Ray Flroes (37:30):

It's my pleasure. Always a pleasure to be with you.

Frank Barry (37:32):

Yeah, absolutely. We'll get the episode out soon. Guys, thanks for listening, thanks for watching, however you consume it. We would love for you to leave a comment or like it or whatever you might do, write a review if you're listening to it on Apple Podcasts or anything like that. But having a good time interviewing pastors and church leaders. So we'll catch you guys next week on another episode of Modern Church Leader. See yeah.

Narrator  (37:55):

If you enjoyed this episode of the Modern Church Leader, consider sharing it with the pastor or minister you think would benefit the most from listening to this conversation. You can send them to modernchurchleader.com or share this episode directly from your podcast app. Be sure to subscribe for free on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Spotify, so you'll never miss an episode. And we'll see you again next week with another conversation here on the Modern Church Leader.

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Make Marketing Matter to Your Church with Christian Ray Flores

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Make Marketing Matter to Your Church with Christian Ray Flores

If you're looking for a more strategic approach to your church marketing, then this episode is for you!

Show notes

Listen on your favorite podcast app:

Make Marketing Matter to Your Church

Marketing is an art and a skill. It requires creativity, innovation, and an understanding of how to connect with people. 

However, churches often overlook marketing as an important tool for the church’s success to reach people. That is why churches commit one of the biggest promotional mistakes by thinking that they're going to reach people by just having a good service. 

But that's not enough anymore—if it ever was. 

People are bombarded with messages every day, and if you don't have a compelling offer, then reaching them is going to be a real challenge.

It's not just a matter of getting your message out there; it's also about knowing who you want to reach and how you will reach them. And marketing plays into all of this—it's essential to any successful outreach strategy.

What does this mean for churches? 

It means that if you're serious about reaching more people—if you want your ministry to grow—then you need to pay attention to marketing.  It may seem like an intimidating topic, but with the right approach, marketing can be a powerful tool to help your church thrive.

Marketing isn't just about making your church look good—it's about ensuring people know what your church is all about. The first impression you make will set their expectations for the rest of their experience with your church. 

Whether through your website, social media presence, printed materials, or online ads, marketing is an essential part of building up an image for your church that will set the tone for everything else.

You're probably wondering how you can make it all work for your church. 

That's why we've invited Christian Ray Flores, a marketing expert and co-founder of Third Drive Media, to share his insights on how you can make sure your marketing efforts are targeted and effective. 

He'll also be sharing some of the transformative marketing principles that have helped churches all over the world. If you want to learn more about this, check out his course Transformative Church Marketing.

“If you don't love, understand, embrace and improve the art of marketing, you will not have an impact on whatever it is that you have.”
-Christian Ray Flores

Christian Ray Flores is a church leader and entrepreneur who has helped build several companies and is co-founder of Third Drive, a venture development company focusing on strategy and marketing for startups and faith-based organizations.

If you're looking for a more strategic approach to your church marketing, then this episode is for you!

By the end of this episode, you will learn:

  • How marketing can help your church 
  • Reasons why more young people are not coming to your church
  • How to use content marketing to grow your church
  • Professional tips for improving your church's website
  • An overview of the Transformative Church Marketing Course

Resources Mentioned:

Know more about Christian: christianrayflores.com
Like Christian on Facebook: Christian Ray Flores
Follow Christian on Instagram: christianrayflores
Follow Christian on Twitter: @ChristianRay
Check out his course: Transformative Church Marketing
Like and subscribe to Christian’s Youtube Channel: Headspace by Christian Ray Flores

Other Episodes You May be Interested In:

The Role Marketing Plays in Church Growth with Kelvin Co
How Churches Can Benefit from Using the Metaverse with Dave Adamson
How to Make Church Growth Happen with Kevin Geer

Here's a glance at this episode…

[2:35] I think what people misassociate with marketing is that marketing is not a gimmick. Marketing is value communicated at scale.

[4:14] if you want to have an impact in this world, in whatever area of life, and it doesn't matter which one, if you don't love, understand, embrace and improve the art of marketing, you will not have an impact on whatever it is that you have.

[7:49] When I became a pastor, I was shocked, honestly, that the churches don't use technology and marketing to market the best thing ever, which is the gospel. There's really literally nothing more valuable on the planet than the good news of Jesus Christ. 

[12:49] The first impression actually matters. The same thing applies to your website. If your website is confusing, people will not go deeper. It's the first impression. Like you might have an amazing community, great preaching, a loving community, and all kinds of cool stuff going on mission work and service, and people won't visit because they will check your website first. And it's completely uninteresting.

[27:02] If you're a preacher, and if all you do is preach on Sundays, and you don't create media, create media, you're not out in the community serving the poor, you're not doing something that is beyond the Sunday service box. You are you don't have a reputation

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