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 represented their farm in order to sear the cow’s side. A brand quickly identifies ownership. The farm ultimately becomes known for their consistently used symbol.
What does that mean for churches?
Since there are many churches in a community, an outsider often perceives “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 words to why someone needs you, by controlling the unique language of what you’re offering, in order to connect them to 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 uniquely differentiate.
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 their needs based on the community around the local church. That 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” John 4:14c). 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 church brand will help evangelize biblically (Matt. 28:19) 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. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.