This is my take on church advertising:
The old front door
Every church has a front door. It used to be that the front door of churches was easy to find. You would just walk into the centre of town and into your local church for worship. 50 or 60 years ago (or even less) a great proportion used the front door of the church twice per day! However we are now a generation where church attendance is not expected. This has particular consequences.
The new front door
These days people still do visit churches for a whole variety of reasons: curiosity and conviction being a significant proportion of these. It might be the beauty of an old building (or a well-crafted new building), or interest in a pleasant looking group of people milling around after a church meeting. Maybe even a well-crafted church sign. Whichever way the church actually touches the community is the new front door. Which brings me to you.
You are the most important ‘front door’ of the church
A beautiful old building can enchant a tourist, but a warm, gentle, grounded character can win a convert. Wherever you go, whatever you say, whatever you do is actually an indicator of your church. If church is something you kinda just do all the time because you always go there, well your front door is kinda unappealing…. and you feel it. And whoever you talk to feels it. And you don’t want to invite them, and they don’t want to go either.
If, however your church is something that you LOVE and get excited by, and wouldn’t miss and think is really important, well that’s a different story. And you know it and your friend who admires the way you live your life knows it too. And they wouldn’t mind a slice of the pie too.
My current church’s front door has a number of setbacks
But they don’t matter. Let me explain: We are opposite a massive Catholic church - we have to be very specific when telling people where we are or they will accidentally visit the catholic church. We are about 1km from the suburb centre and foot traffic is very rare. Our church is behind our car park. The rectory right next to the church looks just like every other house, which is fine, except the rectory takes more prominence on the property than the church itself. The church’s colour more blends into the landscape than leaps out from it - it’s sort of a turquoise green which matches the leaves on the nearby gum trees. Our church front door faces the rectory not the street. As for people simply walking in the door, the cards are stacked well against us.
I’m not worried though. I know what people are like. If they know they will be welcomed and have a great time, even an entirely isolated location is no barrier. It is simply the case that people will travel for miles to be with the community that they know and love. They always have. They will keep being like this. Some churches are entirely made up of people who commute in… even large churches! These days it doesn’t matter where the front door is at all. None of these things matter. If you are delighting in your faith, then the front door will be wide open, it will be inviting, and no matter where the building is, or what it looks like, it will be perfect, beautiful, lovely to all who come along.
So lets take a reinterpreted application from the teaching to the slaves in Titus:
Titus 2:9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
In everything you do, take the wise and godly path so that in everything the teaching about Jesus would be appealing to those around about us.
And er... actually ask people to come. I mean, that's obvious... right?