How to Develop a Compelling, Gospel-Centered Tagline for Your Church

Sometimes conversations that mix marketing and ministry don’t go well. In this post, I will not being dealing with a biblical basis of branding or marketing, but I will discuss the biblical integration with one branding tactic- the development of an effective tagline.


What is a tagline?

It is short, compelling phrase that makes a promise about your ministry to people both inside and outside of your ministry. Other words people might associate with a tagline are a motto, slogan, jingle or catchphrase. Historic examples range from Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” to Nike’s “Just Do It.”  Recent examples from the 2011 Superbowl ads include Coca Cola’s “Open Happiness” and Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit.”

What a tagline is not.

A tagline is not your mission or vision. In almost every vision session or marketing consultation I conduct, people are confused about the difference and appreciate constant reminders with clear definitions. Mission and vision language are for your internal ministry audience only. A tagline is for both your external and internal audience, with a special emphasis on the external– people who don’t know about your ministry.

What does a tagline do?

A tagline positions your ministry based on a promise. When marketers use the word “position” they are referring to both the “position” in someone’s mind (How do people file your ministry in their brain?) and the position relative to other ministry offerings. (How does our ministry compare with others?)

Do I have to have a tagline?

No, but generally it is an opportunity that can be missed if you don’t.

How long does a tagline last?

Depending on what industry it represents, taglines can change every 1-2 years or may last generations. BWM’s tagline, “The Ultimate Driving Machine” has endured for over 40 years. I think a church should be consistent enough to stick with a good tagline for 2-5 years. The key is to stay consistently consistent while remaining fervently relevant.


Here are the steps required to develop an effective tagline. Each step has a post with further information and tools.

Step #1: Revisit your vision. You will want to first clarify the identity and direction of your church. Use this tool to assess your clarity.

Step #2: Decide on a gospel-centered promise. Use another tool, developed by Auxano Design,  to decide on what gospel promise your ministry best fulfills.

Step #3: Brainstorm many possible taglines based on your promise. The key is more. Follow these steps to make your list big enough.

Step #4: Review taglines from other ministries and competitors. Make sure your voice and message are unique.

Step #5: Reduce your list to the top five taglines. Don’t make the decision to quick. Follow some simple steps over two weeks.

Step #6 : Test your tagline with people outside of your ministry. Here is a quick way to test your external audience for free.

Step #7: Make a final decision. Take the ultimate test for your decision.

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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
I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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