The Pastor as Promoter

One of the most practical roles of a pastor is that of a promoter, even though many would not associate that idea with ministry. Thinking of being a promoter may seem to smack of hucksterism or commercialism.

Yet, promotion can determine the success or failure of many of the church’s programs. Many pastors do more promoting than they realize. Announcing the next service and composing the bulletin are both methods of promotion. It must be done well if people are expected to respond. A well-put announcement can make the difference in whether a family or more decide to attend or participate in church functions and ministries.

If the good news of the Gospel is proclaimed, if the congregation is a warm, loving group of people who make others welcome and want to be a blessing to them, it needs to be known. The list of other features in the local church worthy of promotion may be long: excellent teachers; meaningful Bible studies; talented musicians; church library; youth, family, singles, aging ministries; fellowship and Christian nurture opportunities; and an active outreach ministry.

A pastor should not be afraid to promote himself/herself. This can be done without anyone feeling the clergy has an ego problem. Many persons are waiting to hear that a warm and caring person is available to minister to their needs and those of their families. Sermons must be promoted to let people know interesting and inspiring messages can be expected.

The church’s building and location should be promoted. Although every facility has areas that could be improved, the positive aspects should be noted. People need to be reminded of programs such as camp, Vacation Bible School, home department ministries, nursing home visitation, films, and special music or dramatic presentations.

The local conference or eldership offers workshops and retreats. The General Conference offers Diagnostic Clinics, Church Growth Workshops, Celebration of Life Weekends, and Discipleship Seminars. Speakers are available from Findlay College, Winebrenner Seminary, the General Conference staff, and other church-related institutions.

How can promotion be done? Newspapers in small cities and towns usually publicize church announcements at no cost. Announcement of a special service may be accepted as a news release. Shoppers’ guides often will do the same. Radio stations may announce events as a community service. Every available opportunity should be used to promote the church positively. A cancellation due to bad weather could be announced by saying, “The Sunday evening service at _______________ Church has been cancelled. However, the Wednesday night prayer service (or Bible study) will be held as usual at 7:30 p.m.” Midweek or Sunday night services, which many churches do not provide, could also be noted.

No printed material or announcement on radio or TV can take the place of the impact of a congregation’s actual ministering to its community’s needs. That’s the way the Bible tells believers to go about it. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and will glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 KJV). As a local church works to do the Father’s will, people will be attracted to the fellowship that impacts the community for good.