Announcing the Church Marketing Directory

2010_03_10cmd.jpgWe’re pleased to announce the latest project from the Center for Church Communication: The Church Marketing Directory.

The Directory is a list of tools, resources and companies that help the church communicate better. Consider it a yellow pages of church marketing. You’ll find technology blogs, freelance designers, marketing communities, church management software and more.

The site has a handy ‘Suggest a Link’ feature where you can add resources we may have missed. We expect the Directory to grow and expand as more resources are suggested.

An important thing to note is that the Directory is focused on church marketing. This is not a list of Christian marketers or a list of companies that could help the church. This list is limited to organizations that specifically cater to the church. That’s not to say these are the only organizations that can help the church, just that they specifically cater to the church. It’s the difference between Seth Godin’s blog and LifeChurch.tv’s Swerve blog–both great resources, but only one focuses on the church. That niche focus will keep the list efficient and useful.

So we encourage you to check out the Church Marketing Directory. Help us add links to it and make it a helpful tool for churches.


Future Plans
You will notice that the Directory is missing some of those fancy web 2.0 features like comments, ratings and spinning barrels. We intentionally kept the Directory simple so we could get it up and focus on the content. Now that it’s up and running we can go back and add some of those fun features that really make it hum.

So if at its core it feels a little Yahoo circa 1996, that’s OK. We’re starting small and hope to improve it as we go.

History
This project has been a long time coming. You can trace its roots to the original Don’t Suck List on Church Marketing Sucks. In fact, we have notes from a 2006 conversation with Tony Morgan and Kem Meyer when we tried to hammer out our ideas for such a Directory (consequently, Tony and Kem shot down our ideas for a paid listing directory–glad we listened to them).

In 2008 we gathered a team to finally improve the Don’t Suck List (this Directory is the first step in that effort, but it’s not the Don’t Suck List). We had lengthy discussions about how to make the site work and generated a lot of great ideas. But eventually the effort collapsed under the weight of so many voices. We were trying to build too much at once and didn’t have the right structure in place to make it happen.

In 2009 we resurrected the idea with a smaller team and smaller ambitions. This time around the plan was just to create a structure that could house a Directory and let it grow from there. No frills, just links. The scaled down approach worked and through the fall we were able to fine-tune the site. By January we had a finished product that we began testing with the CFCC board, the Regional Network Coordinators and the Church Marketing Lab. Finally, we gave our e-mail newsletter subscribers a sneak peek last week and officially launched the Directory this week.

Whew.

Thanks
You can’t do a project like this without needing to thank a lot of people. Perhaps the biggest thank you goes to Nathan Clark and Matt Kirkland at CityGates who volunteered to design and build the Directory. We also had great support from Paul Steinbrueck of OurChurch.com, who worked with the team in 2008 and came back in 2009 to help us think through a lot of the backend decisions. He’s going to stay on as part of our Directory team that will continue to guide this project forward.

We also have to thank the many people who stepped up in 2008 when we first tried to launch this project. While that initial effort ultimately fell apart, we did learn a lot from those discussions and wouldn’t be where we are today without those contributions.

Finally, we owe an on-going debt of thanks to the many folks who have and will continue to submit links. A directory like this only works because people share their expertise and make it better.

So thanks for your help and go check out the Church Marketing Directory.