What’s your name?
Where do you serve, what is your title, and how long have you served there?
I’m one of the co-founders of Firm Foundations Marketing and a Certified Church Consultant through Thom Rainer’s Church Answers.
Since starting Firm Foundations 5 years ago, I’ve helped churches all over the United States – from those starting at zero to those 3,000+ – get the direction they need to turbocharge their communications strategies.
How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t go to church?
I help pastors and church communicators leverage community research to get a deep understanding of who they are best equipped to reach.
This helps churches build stronger connections with their community because they are able to focus their messages and ministries in a highly-relevant way. By doing this, they remove friction so that more people can experience life-change through Jesus.
What were some of the things that you experienced that shaped the way you approach your work?
Our company is called Firm Foundations for a reason. Besides the allusion to the Biblical allegory, we’ve also found that so many pastors and communicators are building out tactics and investing vital resources without a foundational knowledge of exactly who they are trying to reach.
As career data nerds working in coprorate marketing before starting Firm Foundations, we saw the potential of using market research to inform decisionmaking and creating ministry focus in a highly practical way.
The problem is, the research most pastors are used to seeing is generic, overwhelming, and often just ends up being a nice report on a dusty shelf somewhere.
We wanted to change that.
That’s why we’ve developed a unique approach to community research that helps church leaders discover their ideal audiences.
We did this because we believe you shouldn’t have to have a side hustle as a market researcher just to understand who you’re called to serve.
What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your job?
Data doesn’t have to be boring.
What is the one tool for your job that you can’t live without, and why?
Right now? AI.
Whether that’s ChatGPT, Jasper, or Magai, it has quickly become a valuable tool in the toolbox to help process the sheer depth of insights we have available for clients. With AI processing, we can turn those insights into actionable recommendations so much faster.
What is the biggest mistake that you see churches making when it comes to communications and marketing?
Lacking specificity in determining their target audience.
Seemingly every church wants to grow young by reaching “families”, but few understand that there is so much more depth to be found beyond that simple monicker.
Who is someone that you look up to in the church communications world?
A big shoutout to Tyler Harden for his impactful work as a co-founder at Firm Foundations Marketing, helping churches thrive in their communication efforts. Tyler’s focus on using data to understand the right people to connect with teaches us that knowing who we’re reaching out to is key in any job. Keep shining, Tyler! Your unique approach to community research and your passion for making data exciting is truly making a difference in the church world.
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