The Power of Quality

“We have a saying out here in Los Angeles that ‘Hollywood is great at making fake things look real, and the church is great at making real things look fake.’ Hollywood understands the power of quality.”

This is a tiny excerpt from a Q&A session Church Marketing Sucks did with filmmaker, writer and media consultant Phil Cooke.

I’m drawn to this quote from Phil because it sums up a lot of thoughts that have been floating around in my head lately about what’s going wrong in many churches. While I still need to flesh out some of these thoughts, here are a few bullet points of ways I believe a lack of quality control is hurting the message churches are trying to share.

  • Inconsistent communication. The experience inside the worship center should match the message you’re sending on the outside. Does the look and feel of your website match the look and feel of a worship service? Do you use the same language during a service that you use elsewhere (weekly emails, postcards, website, etc.)? There should be no disconnect when someone walks into the sanctuary.
  • Varying quality level. One weekend’s worship service can be awesomely well produced--and the next, unbearably bad. Find a way to be consistent from week to week. Put effort into thoughtful planning. Yes, it takes time, but your congregation deserves consistency and it will actually encourage them to share your church with others.
  • Lack of leadership. When there’s no leadership, there’s little quality control. Someone has to inspire and monitor.
  • No real visioning. A vision statement alone is not vision. True vision becomes part of a church’s DNA--it affects everything they do. Real vision forces people to make tough decisions about ministry priorities. Too often, instead of making those tough decisions, churches focus on and fund things that shouldn’t be priorities, which distracts from the quality of a church’s real passion.
  • Saying yes too much. There isn’t quality control unless someone says no once in awhile. Every idea isn’t awesome. Failure can actually spawn and inspire great things. Embrace the Nancy Reagan mantra and just say no.

While this list may veer away from Phil’s original point, I think all of these things have some affect on whether things appear to be real or not. Reality involves planning. Reality means making decisions. Reality is full of intentionality. As Phil also said, “There’s a lot of choices out there, so we need to be intentional, strategic, honest and authentic if we’re going to get their attention.”

That’s my list. Where do you see quality being an issue? Any examples where intentional thought about quality has changed the way you do church?

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