Developing a Tagline for Your Church, Step 2: Gospel Promise

Step two in this process is really quite fun. You now want to determine the best promise for your church to make to people outside of the church, in a way that will resonate with people inside of the church.

An import aspect of this promise is understanding that all products and services make a promise. And most of them over-promise. For example…

  • Coca Cola isn’t promising quality sugar water, it’s promising happiness
  • Southwest Airlines doesn’t provide a safe, on-time plane ride, it provides freedom
  • Mary Kay doesn’t sell cosmetics but offers life enrichment for women


The exciting thing for the church is that we don’t over-promise when we make bold statements about transcendent ideals like happiness, freedom and life enrichment. For the church stewards the Gospel of Jesus Christ which can really deliver on the promise!

Yet, I do recommend that you refine your promise based on two criteria that you use to filter all of the potential promises that the gospel can make:

  1. Your strengths as discerned and expressed through your Vision Frame (step one)
  2. The strength of your church culture as experienced by an outsider in the  first four weeks


Since we dealt with the first criteria in step one, let’s talk about the second criteria.

Usually a church reflects one of its strengths better than others as you experience the church for the first time. For example a small church might create an intimate environment where a large church may offer inspiring teaching. And then think about it a step further. Is the intimacy of a small church more about acceptance or about transformation? Is the inspiration of the large church environment geared toward challenging a next level of growth or getting started with a second chance on life?

In order to discern this first impression I look for:

  • An honest assessment of the “first-touch” environment, usually, but not always, the worship service.
  • A good understanding of both worship style and personality of worship leadership
  • A good understanding of the primary teacher’s style, gifting and personality
  • Comments made from guests and membership classes/processes


Why do we look at this initial exposure to the church? While the church hopefully fulfills all of the facets of a gospel-community, it’s opportunistic to align the face of your church through branding and marketing to the strength of your upfront experience. It creates a seamless connection for your guests! In the long run, it most likely positions the greatest strength of your culture.

To determine your promise, use the Ministry Brand Promise Palette developed by our team at Auxano Design. Do this with your team:

  1. Reviewing the Vision Frame and consider the first experience of your ministry
  2. Ask each leader to select two “slices” from the palette
  3. Tally the responses and select the top-two “slices” giving you four words total
  4. Create a hyphenated two-word promise by picking the best word from each of the top “slices”

For example your promise might be:

  • Authentic-excitement
  • Growth-intimacy
  • Freedom-new beginning


GO TO Step THREE: Brainstorm many possible tag lines

Return to Church Tagline Post Overview

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Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Recent Comments
Yea! You fixed it!
— Mr. Troy Reynolds
I just discovered this today and am looking forward to exploring the content on here. It looks like it could be very helpful. Just an FYI - in your paragraph on not putting out B+ material you have a typo. A little ironic. :-) The third sentence begins with "You time" not "Your time."
— Troy Reynolds
I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!

Clarity Process

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