No More Tiers: A New Way to Promote

Promoting events in your church can bring you to tiers.

Everyone wants the prime real estate, whether it’s the video announcements, posters, live announcements, social posts, get me in the pastor’s email newsletter, put me in the bulletin, put it on the front, make it HUGE with fire around it!

But we can’t give everybody what they want. We just can’t. So we have to have a way to determine what gets promoted where in our church. We have a slew of communication channels, but everyone only wants 3 of them.

I used to think tiers were the answer (I even blogged about it already), but I’ve changed my mind. The reason is because 1) I discovered that it allows anyone to still argue their case for getting what they want and probably winning, and 2) I think I found a better system.

Ultimately, I think the Tier system is good in theory, but actually asks or assumes the wrong question at the beginning. It asks “What ministries are worthy of my communication channels?” when the correct question is “What am I trying to do with the communication channels I have?” Let me explain.

The Tier System

One of the most common answers to the question “how do we decide what to promote where?” is to create a system of tiers. Usually it’s three tiers and each event or ministry is assigned a tier based on how important it is. Then, when those ministries want to be advertised, they get a limited amount of stuff based on what tier they fall into.

I’ve heard it explained like a mall. There are big and important department stores, somewhat important boutiques like Journey’s and Hot Topic, and the kiosks where high school students go to lose their souls selling phone cases or (shudder) airbrushing t-shirts.

The problem with this system is that it still requires an all-powerful wizard to determine how the crystal ball works. Translation: Someone decides what tier a ministry is based on…..what?

Size? Number of people it affects? What people? Just the adults? You mean the parents? Or the singles? Maybe the seniors? Vision? So missions and not camp? What if you’re reaching a lot of people with your interpretive dance team? Should that get big play? Is it about the number of people who attend or the type of people who attend?

See? If you really think about it, you can make an honest-to-God legit case for just about anything deserving front and center promo time. Why? Because the focus is on the the wrong thing. I think I have a better idea.

The Target Audience System

What if you took each communication piece and ran it through a few simple questions about your goals and target audience instead? Then you can develop a plan for what you will use that tool for and what you won’t.

For example, let’s talk about video or live stage announcements. Let’s say that 5th grade and down are not in the worship service but have their own services. So the weekend service is really for adults. It’s multi-generational, but you have a target of 30 somethings with young kids because that’s the area you live in and who you are uniquely equipped to reach. You know this because you’re smart and have done your homework.

So announcements that happen in your church service, you decide, are for adults. You want them to take an action or next step to either serve or sign up for a class or join a homegroup or whatever. Bottom line is, sign your kid up for something is a secondary goal. You want the adult in the seat to do something for the adult in the seat’s spiritual growth.

Now, when kids ministry wants to promote their next series, you can say, “No, sorry. That event doesn’t target the audience we’re trying to reach with that medium. But we can do XYZ instead that will help you reach your audience.”

Now you’re not the wizard choosing your favorite ministry, you’re simply being strategic and helping the church as a whole get the right message to the right people in the right way. It’s not personal anymore. Once those parameters are clearly defined, you just explain the strategy instead of skirting around but not quite saying that someone’s ministry isn’t that important. Soul-crushing.

Now it’s about your audience and what you’re trying to accomplish with them.

So Cry Me a River

What do you think? Think that’s a good alternative? Did I forget something or not make a point clear? Let me know in the comments or join the conversation on Instagram or in my Facebook Group. Thanks for reading!

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