25 years ago, Nike created a three word tagline than can be readily recited by millions of people. Few people, however, could repeat its current mission statement which is, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” As congregations wrestle with how best utilize a tagline or mission statement, it’s important to understand how these statements differ and how they’re most effectively used.
Mission statements . . . .
- raise awareness within the congregation how it intends to fulfill the Great Commandment (Matt 22:37-39) and the Great Commission’s (Matthew 28:19-20).
- define the congregation’s purpose, priorities and its target audience.
- usually change less frequently and often require a congregational vote.
Taglines . . .
- are designed to engage the crowd and pique people’s interest in the organization.
- raise awareness in the community about the congregation’s personality and priorities.
- are great on the church sign, t-shirt or a coffee cup and can be easily recited by others.
- inspire people to action (i.e. Think Different, Get a Piece of the Rock).
- usually refer to a promise, intention or what the congregation does best.
- Help “brand” the congregation’s identity and are often created the same time a congregation develops its logo.
Taglines are usually the first step in building an integral brand. A good tagline can be a congregation’s best and least expensive form of advertising – often becoming an ad in and of themselves.
Suggestions for using taglines
- Post logo and tagline on every webpage. Include it on your stationary and business cards.
- Hire a firm to help create a tagline rather than “do it yourself.” A bad tagline is worse than none at all.
- Consider making the tagline the first ad your congregation does, done with conjunction with logo design (to ensure brand identity and consistency) and after thoughtful consideration to your congregation’s vision and core values.
If you have a tagline, ask yourself two questions:
- If you left your business card somewhere, could someone glance at it and know exactly what your congregation is focused on?
- Would your tagline work if another congregation used it?
- Does your tagline focus more on your org or your audience?
Please share when, where and how you use your congregation’s mission statement and/or tagline. How might you use these two communication tools more effectively?