“We’re not trying to grow a church here.” That’s not exactly what you expect to hear right before the pastor says that we must expand to three services because of our rapid growth. It’s not normal, but that’s what Rod Van Solkema told us this Sunday at Crossroads Bible Church outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
So it begs the question: if Crossroads isn’t focused on growth, why is it growing? (Especially when so many churches are extremely focused on growth, but are actually shrinking.)
It’s because the vast majority of the people at every gathering are serious — they’re desperate, focused followers of Christ. That kind of intensity can’t help but reveal itself and newcomers are either drawn to it or repelled by it. Obviously, the majority who walk into Crossroads are finding fellow travelers who have the same longing and thirst… and now we’re up to three services.
I know how to market products and services, and I’m good at it. I have done my fair share of marketing churches and building brands for local congregations, but there’s a paradox in marketing which spills over into the area of church growth. The strongest brand loyalty is built on the strength of early adopters who discover the product before any hype begins. Those are the true believers and their experience becomes the most potent form of marketing communications. In our case, it’s the cry of a desperate follower of Christ telling another where to find truth and freedom.
It’s the way they did it in the book of Acts. Peter and Paul – marketing gurus.