Many pastors wonder, “is church branding scriptural?” It’s a great question that stems from a misunderstanding of what branding is.
Church branding is simply differentiating your church so you’re known for something that defines your ministry focus. It’s more than a name, denomination or mission and vision statement. Instead, it allows someone to know why they need you.
Branding started with cattle as a way to differentiate cows owned by various farmers that grazed together. Their owners created a unique, simple stamp that was used to identify which cows that belonged to each farm. Each farm ultimately became known for their consistently used symbol. A brand quickly identifies ownership.
What does that mean for churches? Since there are many churches in a community, outsiders often perceive sameness. To them, one church is like all churches. We know that’s not accurate. To make a choice easier, a local church needs to position itself differently.
A brand thread emphasizes the church’s focus based on the people in the community who need Jesus. And that thread — a simple tagline — is what the local church becomes known for. It becomes the church brand.
A church brand thread puts into words why someone needs you and controls the unique language of what you’re offering, in order to connect people with the gospel message.
Then, because of the visual world we live in, a local church needs a unique, simple symbol that quickly brands everything that they produce. That church logo starts to represent the church by controlling the look of its website, signage, print, social media and other communications so the ownership of the ministry’s communication is quickly identified. It shouldn’t look like other church logos. Instead, it should be unique.
So is church branding scriptural? The short answer is yes.
Jesus told His followers they’d be known for love (John 13:35). That’s Jesus using a controlled brand message for the Church. The scriptural brand for all churches is love.
However, to differentiate, a local church needs to be known for something uniquely received as love, a unique solution to the needs of the people in the community around the local church. This will get their attention so we can connect them to Christ’s love.
A church brand should never water down biblical messaging. However, to get the community’s attention, we should concentrate on temporal needs first, much like Jesus did when the women approached Him at the well (John 4). He engaged with her about water (her immediate need) and then connected to the eternal (“water springing up… for eternal life”). This lets the church be known for something relevant, needed and engaging.
Let’s be “wise like serpents” (Matt. 10:16) to engage immediate needs to share the gospel. A strong brand will help the church evangelize biblically and get the community’s attention so we can introduce others to Jesus.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, & social media. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.