In my most recent book review I endorsed Jeff Walker’s book, Launch: An Internet Millionarie’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams. It’s a strange subject to broach for me since I don’t write to help people become millionaire’s. I write to help ministries grow through strategies and social media.
But Jeff’s business strategies are a great fit for ministries. In fact applying his “sales” methods would probably make John Wesley (“Method-ist”) proud. One of Wesley’s great theological contributions to the faith was a renewed emphasis on the Holy Spirit. But he was also strategic in his ministry (I’ll be talking more about this in an upcoming post). And I believe we should be strategic in ours too.
From Jeff’s book I want to highlight three strategies that can have great benefits for Christian ministries.
1. Give a lot before you ever ask.
For churches, the “sale” should be understood as your end goal. Do you want people to attend your event? Would you like more people in your community to visit your church?
What I see churches doing all the time is “Come visit us! Come visit us! Come visit us!” It’s as bad as saying “Buy me! Buy me! Buy me!” People are tired of that message and in today’s world with so many distractions, it’s easy to tune out an aggressive “Come to my church” campaign.
But if you sow into people’s lives for the simple reason that you want to help them; if you put away your “Come to my church” tweets and instead offer content that genially and genuinely enhances their lives, then when the time comes to invite them to something they’ll be more inclined to come.
2. Learn to leverage inherent human triggers.
The above point works so well because of some of the triggers Jeff talks about. One strong trigger inherent in all of us is the reciprocity trigger. When someone gives us something for free and without expecting anything in return, we tend to develop a strong sense of owing them in some way. This might stay under the surface, but when the time comes for you to ask them for something such as inviting them out to a neighbourhood bar-b-q, they are far more likely to come because you invested into their lives first and often and without expecting anything in return.
And that’s only one powerful trigger. There are others that include: authority, community, scarcity and more. Powerful triggers God built in each of us that can be leveraged to move our community into action.
3. The power of JV Partnership
A joint venture partner in Jeff’s model is about finding others in your field who have a similar business and a similar audience and joining together to launch a product. Jeff says that by-and-large the days of competition are over. We’ve entered the days of collaboration. This can be powerful when applied to churches sharing a local context.
Finding other churches in your area and partnering with them to launch massively life-changing events will produce some amazing results for your church. For example, it will make more people aware of your church or ministry. You goal here is not to “sheep-steal,” but to grow and to help people (for all the churches involved). If the event is evangelistic in nature, then unchurched or former-churched people may discover churches in their area by visiting the events. A JV partnership for churches is really about taking your church out of its little corner of the city and bringing awareness to it; it’s about benefiting the community; and it’s about building amazing relationships with other churches in the shared cause of proclaiming Christ.
And that’s just scratching the surface. I’ve challenged myself and I want to challenge you too. Buy Jeff’s book and find the principles that can be applied to ministry growth. See how many you can come up with, and then implement them. Some other strategies in the book I’d include for churches are: make everything into a conversation. Tell stories always (especially when connecting to people who don’t know you). Don’t tell people what features your ministry has, tell them what benefits the will get through your ministry. Always over deliver!
Question: How have you used general business strategies to change lives through your ministry? You can leave a comment by clicking here.