In Australia right now, MasterChef is the hottest franchise around. The last season rated its socks off. (America has it's own franchise with Gordon Ramsey.) One of the principles I’ve learned from the show is that contestants can get a reputation very quickly for being a certain type of chef. Jimmy was thought of as a one dish wonder as he can only really cook curry. Marion was perceived to be the stand out chef and the person to beat. Every contestant and every viewer thinks she will win. (She was just eliminated) Callum was perceived to be a good chef but lousy on presentation.

So why does this matter I hear you ask? Think of a large church near you. You've probably 'heard stuff' about it haven't you? Good and bad. That is exactly why this issue is critical for your church right now. Out there someone somewhere has a perception about your church. Good. Or bad. It doesn’t take long for you to get a reputation for something—good or bad. (Once you have a reputation you aren’t proud to call your own, you have to work twice as hard to change it.)

Here's a quote that I read which I agree with. Marketing often times is the management of perception.

Have you ever asked those inside your church and in your community what they think of your church?

Do you know what the perception out there in your community is?

Does that match up with how you think you should be perceived? (Check out this post I wrote on how we perceive ourselves a while back)

Can you sum up what your church is in a sentence? (I love this post about your church's sentence, I often think if we could all sum up who our churches are it might just help shift someone's perception of us)

If you are on the right track, brilliant! Drop us a comment below and let us know how you do it.

If you are struggling to articulate your church’s real voice, here are three steps you can take to change your reputation:

  1. If you don’t know how you are perceived, do some focus group testing. You’ll get a first hand opportunity to find out what people think of your church from both internal and external perspectives.
  2. If you need to do something internally to get the reputation you are seeking to achieve, implement a ministry strategy to help change your church culture.
  3. Do something that connects and impacts your community in a positive way and tell your local newspapers about what you are doing (Get some PR advice beforehand). Don’t do it for the sake of getting the story, do it because it is part of who you are as a church.

Thoughts? Questions? Brilliant ideas? Drop in a comment and start the conversation.

(This post was originally a guest post on my friends blog at