Marketing as Ministry

 April 25, 2014

There were no marketing classes in my Masters and Doctoral programs in ministry. I learned plenty about Scripture, Church Teaching and Tradition, Liturgy, Counseling, and Programming, but no marketing. Marketing was way too secular. It dealt with that dirty term “money.” We were too good to be concerned about money. As ministers we were supposed to do what God wanted us to do and trust God to provide. Churches wanted pastors who know how to manage a budget and raise funds, but there was something suspect about a pastor that did that well. They were too “worldly.” Marketing and Ministry were opposed to each other.

I brought this bias with me into the field of writing. Like so many writers I asked, “Why can’t I just write what I feel called to write and trust that somehow, by osmosis, my writing will spread to the ends of the earth?” Doesn’t happen.

That’s been my approach through all my years of ministry as I wrote on the side. Now that that I am writing full-time I needed to change. I could continue to write and trust that God would do the rest, or I could give God a nudge.

The days that authors sought out a publisher, handed over their manuscript and left the marketing to that publisher are long gone. Even traditionally published writers need to market their books, much more so those who self-publish.

As I’ve been studying marketing, one aspect stood out—it was all about relationships, building and sustaining relationships! Now that preaches! That was something I could get behind. I know about relationships. Ministry is all about relationships. My personal mission statement was to grow in my relationship with God and help others in their relationships. Marketing is an extension of that ministry not contrary to it!

So now I no longer see marketing as an evil but necessary end to a means. Marketing is part of my ministry of writing. I’m all about building relationships with my readers. And in the process, perhaps we will all grow.

How do you look at marketing? Has it changed over the years?

One response to “Marketing as Ministry”

  1. A writer friend and I just had this very conversation. He wants to be the artist, not the promoter, but I’m just not sure that’s the reality of the current publishing industry. I like your “spin” on marketing, because essentially, you’re right, it’s about building relationships.

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