“Everyone Welcome!” I’ve seen so many of these signs around and you’ve probably got something similar in your church. As a church we want to reach as many people as possible. And that’s a good thing, it means that you’re inclusive and diverse. However, this creates a problem.
Now you end up needing to cater for all the different types of people. Some people like the music loud, some like it quiet. Some like soft rock, some like hymns, some want gospel music. Sound familiar? The Worship Wars are always a symptom of a much bigger problem. You don’t know who you exist for.
Let’s take that one step further. Because you don’t know who you exist for, you start creating new services for different types of people. The Traditional Service, the Contemporary Service, the Youth Service. All of it leads to creating multiple churches in the same building.
Here’s the bombshell: Your church can’t exist for everyone. Nor should it. Your church is not The Capital C Church, it’s a church. It’s one part of a bigger whole. That means that there is plenty of scope for lots of incredible churches in your location, as long as they are looking to reach different kinds of people.
Take this out of the church world, and you realise how far behind the times we’ve become. In the business world, they no-longer talk about reaching the most amount of people. In Seth Godin’s latest book, This Is Marketing, he encourages businesses to find their Minimum Viable Market.
Minimum. Viable. Market.
That means that you become so laser-focused that you know who your church is intending to reach, and then tailoring the experience for those people. Here’s some things to think about when looking to create a Minimum Viable Market.
Demographics is all about age, ethnicity, gender, life-stage, location and salary. It’s the things you can see in the Office for National Statistics. However, whilst these things are useful, it doesn’t give you a full picture. Just because someone is a Millennial doesn’t mean he thinks, feels and acts the same way as another Millennial. It doesn’t mean that Millennials connect best with other Millennials (we’ll leave why categorizing people by arbitrary date-of-birth groupings is entirely pointless for another day).
This is where Psychographics comes into play. They are all about the attitudes, interests and opinions of people. You want to choose your target market around common-minded individuals, regardless of where they live, what age they are or how much they earn.
What TV shows do people watch? Who do they vote for? What’s their attitudes towards Brexit? What car do they drive? What hobbies do they have? Have a look in your community and start looking for the common Psychographics, or it could be that you’re called to reach a certain psychographic as a church which could be quite niche in your locality. That’s ok. Get clarity on the psychographic, not the demographic.
With the Black Lives Matter protests highlighting the prejudice and bias that exists in our society, this is even more poignant. Just because someone has the same skin colour does not necessarily mean that they’re going to be interested in the same things and believe the same things. People of all ethnicities, ages and life stages can have the same psychographics, it all depends on the person. Your church should reach a diverse demographic, but be focused on a narrow psychographic.
Focusing narrowly on a small psychographic may seem like you may need to turn people away at the door, but that would be missing the point. When you narrow your focus to a key psychographic, you’ll start to find that the reach is a lot wider than you think. That’s because whilst people may not totally identify as the target market, they see themselves in that category.
The other part of it is that some faithful members may not fit that narrow focus, but will be passionate to be home-turf missionaries to meet that target market. Use the narrow focus to sharpen your passion to be mission-minded.
It’s important that your church seeks to reach one, and only one, psychographic. Why? Because you need to design your church for the people you’re seeking to reach, rather than creating a church and trying to convince people to come. The first way shows humility and empathy, the second shows pride. When you design your church around those you seek to reach, you will need to design a whole ministry strategy to serve them properly.
That means, if you want to reach a new ‘who’ - a new target market, you’ll need to plant a whole new church to do so. But that’s fantastic. If there is a segment that is unreached, why not send some leaders to plant a church to meet that need. Sure, they won’t be able to do it the way you do it, but they’ll meet the needs of their target market. At the end of the day, we’re Kingdom building, not empire building. So release them to do things differently. Different who, different church.
The inverse is true too. If you’re looking to ‘go multisite’ - being one church but in multiple locations, it’s best to use it as an Evangelism strategy. That is, reaching more of the same people in other locations. The temptation is to think that in every location you need to alter your ministry strategy to reach that location, but that’s thinking demographics rather than psychographics. If you’ve already got a good amount of people commuting to your church, it’s probably an indicator that there are more of those kinds of people in that town.
If you fundamentally think that it needs a different approach, don’t go multisite, plant a church instead.
We’d love to hear who you are trying to reach. If you’re struggling to work out your psychographics, we can help. Book a FREE 1-hour consultation with us to discuss where you’re at and how we can help.