BEST OF THE BEST BLOGS
17 Of The Best Church Marketing Blogs, You Must Follow!
We’ve all heard the saying “it’s a small world,” right? But the reality is that the world, both on and offline, is a BIG PLACE!
And while the goal of a pastor is to teach, shepherd, counsel and guide others, the truth is, sometimes it’s hard to get your church’s message heard or even get your church seen in the first place through all of the white noise that constantly fills our lives these days.
So what can you do? The answer: Hone your communication & marketing skills.
Now, when I say “communication skills, I’m not talking about preaching, or even talking and relating with others. I’m assuming you’re already pretty good at that already if you’re a pastor.
I’m talking about church marketing. Figuring out how to market the fact that your church even exists to your local community via the newfangled technological gadgets everyone is constantly using.
What’s that? It’s easier said than done? The tech world is always changing so fast it’s hard to keep up? That’s true, and I hear you! That’s why I’ve pulled together this list of resources.
I want to go beyond church website design and really send you in the right direction for needed resourced to get to the next level.
These are my top 17 picks for online church marketing resources for pastors in 2019.
All of the blogs on this list are high-quality places where you can learn about the latest ways to keep yourself in touch with your community in this day and age when the hard truth is that technology and everyday life go hand in hand.
So, without further ado, here are the top picks!
Brandon Cox is a blogger, a writer, and the lead pastor at Grace Hills Church.
Even more important to us here, though, he is also an amazing leadership and marketing coach, which makes him a perfect resource for those of us looking for ways to reach out to our community.
For example, he currently helps run PD.church, a church help site fun by Saddleback Church, and also used to work as the chief editor over at Pastors.com, an organization that helps pastors connect and find refreshment.
Some of Brandon’s best resources, however, are found right on his site, which is dedicated to helping connect people in deeper ways as well as inspiring and equipping leaders to “expand their influence,” as he so tastefully puts it.
The man has been steeped in the digital marketing world for over a decade and, as I already mentioned, has been busy helping to create online stomping grounds designed to facilitate community and marketing opportunities for the leaders in the Church.
He’s also written a book, Rewired, which focuses on using today’s cutting-edge technological innovations, not to help rile people up (as is too often the case) but specifically to promote fostering real relationships and conversations with those who we encounter in our online journeys. (And we all know how elusive those kinds of genuine online relationships can be to come by, right?)
He’s also put together a FREE ebook on leadership called More Influence: 21 From-the-Gut Lessons for Today’s Leaders. You can get it for free by signing up for his newsletter (which also puts you in line to receive tons of other great leadership and marketing updates and resources).
Brandon is one of my top recommendations for a source of current, relevant, and encouraging information on leadership and church marketing. I can’t recommend him more!
Among an endless list of accolades, Jahng is a blogger, content marketing expert, and a social and digital strategy consultant, with a focus on nonprofits.
He’s a digital entrepreneur, who loves to facilitate church marketing and communicating the Christian faith via social media and technology in general.
Jahng specializes in Twitter and Facebook marketing as well as public relations, content marketing, and, as an enormous, intensely valuable cherry on top, social media coaching, too.
The man is built to provide quality content that will specifically equip you when it comes to using social media consistently and effectively to communicate with those you want to reach.
His site is loaded with an endless stream of digital marketing tips in a variety of great, entertaining formats. A great example of the diversity of these resources is demonstrated in his video interviews, which he calls his “Lunch & Learn” series. And get this, too, one of these interviews just happens to be with none other than Brandon Cox! When one church marketing guru interacts with another, you know you’re getting some top-notch value!
One last note on Jahng, he is also the founder of Church Butler, a site that helps churches with their social media woes. According to his research, 74% of churches do not have a paid staff member updating their social media posts.
If you’re in that 74%… you need to check this guy out.
Next, we come to Nils Smith, and let me tell you, this guy has some great stuff.
The tagline of his site is: “helping leaders maximize technology.” Isn’t that literally what we’re after when it comes to church marketing online?
I mean, pastors and leaders have a million responsibilities. We can’t spend all day tinkering around with the latest marketing trends. We need someone who can conduct and compile the research for us, take us by the hand, and then show us what we need to be doing, which is precisely Nils’ goal.
The man speaks at conferences, consults, creates ministry focused social media and technology courses, and even co-hosts the Social Media Church Podcast!
He’s the Chief Strategist of Social Media and Innovation for Dunham and Company, a group of Christian fundraising consultants based out of Dallas and Sydney that aims to help non-profits with fundraising ideas, marketing, and general media expertise.
He’s also the co-founder of TVapp church and served for nearly a decade as the Innovation Pastor for Community Bible Church (through which he oversaw a Facebook community called “Online Church” which boasts 850,000 members!)
Nils oozes knowledge when it comes to developing and executing technologically driven ministry opportunities. And this can take the form of anything from wielding your ministry’s social media outlets like a two-edged sword to creating online ministries that are specifically built to exist “in the cloud.”
A final note on Nils. If hands-on ministry experience means as much to you as it does to me, Nils has spent 12 grueling (did I say that? I mean, blessed!) years in full-time ministry as a Youth Pastor and a Young Adult Pastor as well as his participation in online ministry. So he’s not just pointing in a direction and telling you to march. He’s spent his time in the trenches as well.
It should be pretty clear by now that Nils’ main passion is to maximize (he uses that word a lot, and why not? It’s a good one!) the use of social media and other various technologies in whatever ways possible to help anything from churches to other organizations and ministries get what they need done.
Seriously, we can’t let culturally negative views of things like marketing sully our use of the actual methods in our own church marketing. It would be as if we didn’t want to voice our opinion in a debate because we thought opening our mouths and speaking was naturally inappropriate!
So, let me just say this… CHURCH MARKETERS UNITE!
Alright, back to Church Juice. Sorry, I’m a little energetic. That’s what this site will do for you. I mean, they’re goal is literally to energize church communications, and I’m feeling that energy.
They provide tons of free tips, resources, and consulting to help pastors and their churches and ministries reach their communities.
This includes case studies, discussing best practices for church marketing, and following the latest trends.
And one of the best parts about this one: IT’S ALL FREE. Like, that’s part of the vision. They want to equip pastors like yourselves with high-quality, free resources to aid you as you go out and spread the gospel.
Their site has a blog section with tons of info, a training section with resources to help teach you how to be a better online communicator, and then “The Juicys” section where they distribute rewards for those who are actually going out and …well …communicating!
Church marketing qualifications met? Check. So he’s on the list.
Steve focuses particularly on the digital end of things, providing helpful insight for churches, non-profits, and businesses alike, giving him a truly “digital” focus.
He’s is a treasure trove, a potluck, a smorgasbord of different digital skills, from branding and communications to church marketing (he’s served on church staffs in both Australia and Great Britain), public relations, and the list goes on.
Steve’s passion for social media started early on when social media was just getting some momentum. Getting out ahead of the new technology, he quickly grew his church’s Facebook page from 300 to 136,000 followers! His passion for using social media for the gospel led him to envision, start, and grow his church’s church online. Now his church has over 2,500 people attending every week.
And I’m not joking about the diversity. He has subcategories within his website’s menu for
- and Public Relations
So you can rest in the fact that he’s not just saying “well, yeah, I mentioned marketing once in an article, so yeah, I talk about that.” Not in the least.
If you want to hear about what Steve Fogg has to say about marketing, click on the tab and head on over to the entire page he has devoted to marketing. And, of course, the same goes for all of the other categories.
I like this breakdown too because it allows you to narrow your search quickly. Are you trying to polish your church’s online appearance? Check out the PR or Branding sections. If image isn’t an issue, but reaching people is, look into the communications or marketing sections.
So, to recap on Steve Fogg, he has a great, well-rounded blog filled with a variety of resources on marketing for churches, non-profits, and businesses alike, and he’s organized it beautifully so that you can find out information to address your particular challenges in no time.
church marketing university
This is an incredible idea that can help teach and equip your church’s marketers with real-world knowledge to empower them in their daily work.
Along with the university itself, the site provides a blog with some of the best articles that cover everything from ultimate guides for running your church’s social media platforms to how to implement photography to help reach people in your area.
Their passion, more specifically speaking, is to help you reach your city. They pride themselves on having cutting-edge resources to help your online outreach in both practical and timely ways.
Recently, I took some time to not only go through the training they provide but also dug deep in their blog, and I have to say, it’s on my short list for some of the best and most actionable content available for churches.
Ryan Wakefield does a fantastic job a providing content from many different angles to be helpful. He thinks outside of the box and you can tell he really cares about seeing people succeed online.
Their marketing blog (called articles on the website) is well your time.
It’s going to ensure that you’re not just setting up a cool looking website or Facebook page, but that all that effort is going actually to be a boon to your church’s outreach efforts!
They also have some AMAZING FREE TRAINING! You have to take a look!
His current gig is working at Katoomba Christian Convention, and before that he worked as the Executive Pastor at Church by the Bridge.
But, like so many of the guys I’ve got on this list, he’s got a second life – and a busy one at that! – one filled with all sorts of social media wonder and church marketing delight.
This “other half” of Steven has manifested, among other things, in working as a social media strategist at Switched on Media, giving regular technology-based radio interviews, and writing a weekly technology column for Sydney Anglicans.
I mean, the man doesn’t stop!
Even on his about page, Kryger is trying to get you resources. He’s got popular posts on things like organization systems and email marketing tools.
All of these things so far could have gotten him a spot on the list. But I haven’t even gotten to the big one yet.
The project that we’re the most interested here is Communicate Jesus.
See, nestled in amongst his plethora of other occupations, hobbies, and accomplishments is his work as an online marketer, and it was that passion, in particular, that drove him to start Communicate Jesus in 2009.
The site is laser-focused on the idea that the incredible, practically unfathomable power of the internet NEEDS to be used to communicate the even bigger, even more, unfathomable power of Christ! With that in mind, the site has become a depository ( and a very well-organized depository at that) of all of Kryger’s thoughts and knowledge on social media, website development, marketing strategy, event management, and church outreach.
Church Marketing Sucks
Church Marketing Sucks is a site that’s been around the block.
They were founded way back in 2004 as part of the Center for Church Communications and since then they’ve established themselves as one of the premiere websites for church marketing!
Their goal is impressively …bothersome to say the least.
What do I mean? Well, how does this strike you? Their mission can be broken down into three words.
Educate. Sure, the church needs to be educated about where the digital world is going, how to keep up with trends, and how to communicate in a valid way. So far so good!
Motivate. Again, this makes sense. As a group of communicators, they want to make sure you’re focused on the right things with your communications. I mean if you feel like a sell out by marketing your church, you’re never going to be motivated!
Their focus is on ministry, not filling pews and offering plates. They even come right out and say this isn’t about numbers. If one person is affected by their massive collection of online work, that’s good enough! That’s a good, Godly perspective for any ministry to have. Again, so far so good. On to their last mission focus.
Ummm… what? Did I get that wrong? Nope, nope, it really is frustrate. Allow me to explain.
These guys want to “frustrate” the church into waking up and not being COMPLACENT! We need to fight the urge to think everything’s fine when we’re sitting on the most amazing story ever told and we can’t communicate it properly to those around us!
So, that should give you a good picture of what Church Marketing Sucks is about.
They’ve got reams of articles from years of productive input in their archives, along with a podcast, books, and even local “Meetups” that you can attend (if you live close enough to one).
They also provide free social media church graphics to use on your sites. So when a holiday rolls around you can just pop over, grab an already made image, and you’re good to go!
You can also become a member of their other site, courageousstorytellers.com, which cranks up the resources and marketing tools you have available.
As they would say, do you feel offended, yet? If not, you need to check them out and get that fire going under your butt too!
Alright, now we’ve come to a really neat one that kind of breaks the mold from most of the typical “golden resources” I’ve put on the list so far. Sunday Mag is an online magazine that is specifically tailored to pastors and their churches.
Its goal is to help expand your vision and boost creativity when it comes to the difficulties of building one Sunday service after another from scratch, one week after the next, in the relentless, never-ending march of time.
An important part of that is – drum roll please – making plans to market your church! (You totally saw that one coming, right? I mean, that’s why they’re on my list!)
Seriously, though, Sunday Mag is a really good resource, not just because of the whole “they have a lot of good articles to read” thing, which, for the record, they do!
But what really gets me pumped about Sunday Mag is the philosophy behind the whole site.
Their goal isn’t to focus on the nitty-gritty, the tutorials, or the tools themselves as much as the overall goals you should be
With that said, they do have a pretty good resource for the training stuff too called: SundayU.com
… They also run one of the best church marketing and communications conferences –
This is the place to go when you need to draw marketing inspiration as part of your church’s greater plans in your community.
Oh, and did I mention it’s free? That’s right! For those of us who are old enough to have regularly subscribed to magazines – or at least watched our parents do it – the idea of a magazine usually goes hand in hand with a subscription.
This site delivers free, valuable church marketing content in a steady stream. Not an overwhelming one, either. Their goal is to produce a smaller number of high-quality articles every month so that you have good quality reading material that’s always worth your time.
If you’re feeling the need for you and your team to get some inspiration and
Church Mag reigns our focus back in to technology, mixed with a good dose of creativity as well.
Started back in 2008, these guys are another one of those resources that have proven themselves purely by remaining relevant in all of the online white noise and competition of the last decade. In fact, they’ve not only stayed relevant, but they’ve also competitively remained one of the top resources for ministry blogs right up into recent years.
Church Mag’s blog has millions of readers a year, they have a weekly podcast, and they’ve even turned a division of their site into an ebook publisher!
Their articles are gathered into various church marketing ideas like web, mobile, IT, creative, etc. making it easy to narrow down your search and find the best articles to help you get the information and the help you need.
Their mantra is to challenge “creators + influencers to think outside the box and escape their echo-chambers to see the beauty of humankind as God created us.”
Isn’t that sweet?
These guys help to give you a reality check, gain some perspective and remember just why, as a pastor, you’re doing what you’re doing. After all, we serve a CREATIVE God who LOVES what He’s created, right? It’s important that we don’t lose sight of that in our day to day struggles with the (sometimes grinding) reality of the responsibilities of being a pastor. We need to recognize that God made us to–
Alright, I’ll stop preaching…
On a more pertinent note, this site is loaded with relevant articles on anything current, from Christian life and culture to more techy topics like new gadgets, how to brand yourself, and even things like new email platforms or any other tools that help with… church marketing! In fact, when I was just on there today they had, right on the top of the front page, an article about Squarespace announcing a new email marketing platform.
See, guys? Current stuff!
If you go under their “Work” tab you’ll get other articles too on topics like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
They’re also big on community. In fact, many of the resources on this list are.
And that should come as no surprise, as a natural side effect of wanting to equip a pastor with church marketing tools in this world includes providing helpful, online community where you can glean information, ask questions, and be encouraged by peers (not just the “superstar” leaders out there).
One last, quick note on CRTVCHURCH. If you’re an audible learner, they’ve got a whole slew of podcasts (five already with two more planned this year) that you can subscribe to. And they’ve also got a great devotional / email that goes out on a daily basis.
If you’re trying to stay up to date on the overwhelmingly fast-paced world of church marketing, you’ll want to check out crtvchurch.com and everything it’s got to offer.
Mark MacDonald & Be known for something
In this case, when perusing Mark MacDonald’s site Be Known for Something, right on the home page you’re quickly confronted with the phrase, statement, (dare I say) command, “Church, Reconnect with Community.”
I mean, isn’t that beautiful? It so concisely and perfectly sums up exactly why we’re all here, doesn’t it? The church used to BE the community. But now we’ve been left on the outside, and we need to find ways to bring God to the center once more.
(sorry, preaching again!)
Mark MacDonald is the Strategic Communication Catalyst for the Florida Baptist Convention and their 3000+ churches. If that wasn’t enough, though, he also heads up Be Known for Something.
If your ministry is either spiraling or, even worse, being pulled in too many directions, this is where Be Known for Something comes in really handy.
Not only do they offer the best selling book, also called Be Known For Something, but their site and services come together to create an incredible resource that is pin-point focused on bringing the reputation of the Church back to life within our communities.
And I LOVE that.
They don’t just want to get you in touch with your community. They want to help you find, simplify, and channel YOUR church’s ministry message, your “communication thread” as they refer to it, and then use that to impact your community.
In short, they want to bring your team together, streamline your communication with each other, and then help you build your own digital network to impact those around you. Part of their goal is to specifically help your church market itself as an organization bearing a solution for your community’s problems.
Their “Articles” page on their website is also LOADED with amazing, eye-opening stuff that can both inform and inspire you in an endless stream of content. They also offer consulting, coaching, and writing.
I’ll end this one with another quote from their site: “Would your community notice if your ministries disappeared?” If the answer isn’t “YES”, or even maybe, you need to look these guys up.
Seth’s site is another hot spot with an aim and intent to bring together all of the communicators and the marketers involved in full-time ministry.
He’s fostered a sense of marketers “banding together” in camaraderie and helping each other through the high and low points that we all experience in this fast moving, often frustrating world of church marketing.
Seth is down to earth, open, witty, and looking for authentic leaders who aren’t ashamed to talk honestly about real life experiences. Forget showing off your shiny successes, Seth’s focus is on communicators helping each other through the tough stuff. Because, the plain reality of the matter is that sometimes even the marketers can feel pretty beaten up by full-time ministry at points, right?
That’s where the Seminary of Hard Knocks, comes in. This podcast, hosted by Seth himself, focuses on church communicators, aiming to help them with things like email, social marketing, and communications in general.
Whether you’re new to ministry or a lifetime veteran, if you’re just beginning to learn about church marketing or are simply trying to keep up with the trends, Seth’s community is a great place to stay up to date and remain encouraged to keep fighting the good fight!
Their goal, as is the case with so many on this list, is to wield the power of things like social media, websites, and other online tools to spread the gospel.
However, these guys actually cross over to more traditional methods as well, adding in the use of good ‘ol things like print materials to beef up your outreach efforts.
Don’t underestimate the synergy that you can get when you properly combine old and new marketing methods together in a campaign!
They’re also big on branding in general. They know that a church with a bad reputation isn’t going to get much more in the way of attendance even if they market themselves so well that everyone and their mother knows about them.
Church Communications provides value through a few different avenues. They’ve got a blog, a podcast, and a part of their site devoted entirely to resources. These resources cover topics like online giving, stock photography, email, text messaging, website designs, and more.
A VERY valuable resource that they offer (and one of my favorite!) is a private Facebook group (separate from their actual Facebook page) where, after you answer the questions and are approved by the administrators, you become part of a lively, open, and honest group of church marketers and communication peers who are all encouraged to ask questions, discuss topics, and share ideas with each other… If I’m the group is AMAZING!
If that wasn’t enough, they also recently opened up a premium Facebook group with even more honed and poignant marketing tips for those of you diehards out there who want to stay elbow deep in your marketing endeavours at all times!
Trust me, these kinds of groups can be INVALUABLE when it comes to keeping up with the marketing world on the ground level. You get to hear about the nitty-gritty issues that everyone faces in their own circles, all of which helps equip you to handle your own marketing challenges when they arise.
Summing them up, Church Communications is a great resource for any church marketer to not just have available, but be actively be plugged into.
Rich himself has over 20 years of experience in church leadership, making his site yet another veteran-driven resource I had to include on the list.
And we’re not talking about twenty years involved in some minor function in a small church somewhere, we’re talking about a series of big churches all over the place. Rich has been on ground zero with this stuff for decades.
And I have to say, I LOVE when someone who’s seen the evolution of church marketing products and materials over the long term is still heading up cutting-edge sites like this one.
It’s the perfect marriage between experience and knowledge that helps provide us all with real, constructive info that we can apply in our own local scenarios.
This practical help comes in two different forms.
First, there’s the free stuff. A newsletter/resource email, a podcast, and tons of other free stuff, especially articles, on things like communications, strategy, multisite churches, and even personal productivity.
Second, we come to his paid resources, which are also extremely valuable.
One of these is his very popular church marketing book with the long-winded title UNREASONABLE CHURCHES: 10 Churches Who Zagged When Others Zigged and Saw More Impact Because of It.
Its goal is to help you, the church leaders, to take risks and think outside of the box in order to reach out and impact our communities.
Has also has a paid coaching service as well, with a ton of great testimonials on how effective it’s been.
Those of us in ministry need to make sure that those we come in contact with actually understand what we’re offering. And don’t think that because it’s the Bible we’re preaching, it’ll all magically make sense when we talk about it.
I mean, come on. How often has the church been viewed as something it’s not (or at least shouldn’t be!) throughout history?
Story Brand will help you step back and consider what you’re “brand” is. What’s the story, the message you’re sending?
Because if you don’t have a clear focus and vision on this, if you’re goal is something generic, like “spread the gospel …somewhere” or “go out and impact our community …somehow,” and you don’t take the time to define what exactly that even means, you’re going to struggle in your efforts.
Don Miller and the folks at Story Brand help you take a step back, take a deep breath, and gain some clarity and vision. They’ll ensure that things like your web copy, emails, and any other way that we try to connect with our communities is consistent and not confusing to those we’re trying to reach for Christ!
Now, this one is pricey, we’re talking thousands of dollars to attend a workshop. And I know that that can sound especially steep compared to so many of the free resources I’ve been sharing, but it’s definitely something you’re going to want to consider if you’ve got the budget for it!
I mean, when I was on their site today it said that their current workshops are sold out and they’re already booking workshops months from now.
If the demand is that hot, you know that they’re delivering a consistent and high-quality service!
church tech today
Really, though, there IS a lot more to be said for these folks.
For starters, Lauren Hunter, the founder of Church Tech Today, has aimed the site at both pastors and church marketers (…as well as all of you out there who fill both of those roles simultaneously).
The mission of the site is to help keep your ministry up to date about the constant shifting and changing in the technology world, which, as we all know, can be a nightmare to keep up on. I mean, that’s why I’m writing this article and that’s why you’re reading it, right?
Lauren covers topics like mobile and website tech, social media, and even software as it relates to worship, media, and other areas of ministry.
Her breakdown of these topics is also really helpful.
The site has entire sections dedicated to hardware and software, addressing gritty, real-world questions like mistakes to avoid when using ProPresenter for your worship service or even just how to deal with that old computer boogeyman, “The Blue Screen of Death”…
It also has areas for communications that can help with general church marketing topics like email, social media, etc. and even a whole section just dedicated to the ever-evolving relationship between worship services and technology.
With a goal to help “shed a light” on how you can keep up on the rapid-fire changes and trends in the tech world, this site is a tremendous help in the never-ending struggle to use technology as both a tool to both spread the gospel and to help keep your church running like a well-oiled machine.
If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. Not just because this is a pretty exhaustive (and exhausting) list to read through, but because it shows that you’re serious about marketing your church in an appropriate, effective, and Godly manner.
And THAT commitment, along with resources like these, is what’s going to give you an edge when it comes to reaching your community for Christ!
If you liked the article, have a particular comment about someone in the list, or even want to throw out another blog that you think deserves an “honorable mention,” leave a comment below!
And, as always, please consider sharing the post. I’d really appreciate it!
Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!