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Church, Small Business, and Cross-Promotion During a Pandemic

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

It’s no secret that small businesses and churches have suffered tremendously during the COVID19 pandemic. Some have closed their doors for good, and others will see the same fate on the horizon.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) rolled out the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). In it, are provisions for faith-based organizations meeting requirements of Section 501(c)(3).

Since March 2020 people have had to alter their lives significantly. The major changes were transitioning to work-from-home and school environments. Wearing masks and social distancing while in public is another.

Many business owners were sitting in the pews of churches when their doors were open. They are the backbone of our communities and often the largest contributors to the financial cophers of the church.

What happens when a business or organization relies on in-person interaction as the core of their business? How do they come together to help each other? Keeping reading to learn how churches and small businesses partnered for cross-promotional opportunities.

Outdoor Church Services Can Revive Defunct Drive-ins?

Drive-in services date as far back as 1949. The current pandemic forced church services out of the sanctuary and into the digital era. Many large churches were already utilizing technology to reach a bigger audience.

Getting parishioners to conform to the new climate was easier for smaller churches. For mega-churches that have turned church services into a multi-million-dollar business, they needed to get creative. That meant turning large parking lots into places of worship where people stayed in their vehicles to ensure social distancing.

The idea caught on and soon after, media ministries were announcing services in the parking lots of closed shopping malls. Some even partnered with nearby fast-food restaurants to supply food.

Then came the idea to use actual drive-in theaters that were either temporarily or permanently closed. As a result, we saw a move to reopen these businesses and breathe life into a once-forgotten industry.

Event Spaces Make Great Locations

Do you own a unique event space that isn’t getting much use due to COVID19 capacity limits? A partnership with a local church could be the answer. As we’ve seen with churches like New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, they’ve taken their services on the road.

Social distancing is still the order of the day.

Pastor Jamal Bryant and his praise team, pop-up at businesses all over the city. They record their praise and worship and the weekly sermons on the road. In the process, they have viewers not only engaging in the inspirational message of the week. People were wondering where they will appear next.

I have no doubt some young couple has found the location for their wedding ceremony. Be it a museum, event space, or a waterfront gazebo?

Allowing Churches to Spotlight Restaurants

Restaurants are another place that can use some cross-promotion during times of limited or full closures. Not only are they used as the backdrop of a pastor’s sermon, but they are also great for photoshoots.

Now is the time to reach out to these businesses and work a deal for a session.

This is not a new concept. Before the pandemic shuttered doors, I utilized a location during off-hours to stage a shoot for an upcoming book.

What About a Bed and Breakfast?

A bed and breakfast venue is an unlikely location for a church service. The nuance, however, makes it a perfect setting. Remember, this cross-promotion idea is not just for churches looking for a unique location. It is also for business owners looking for visibility.

Or a group looking for an intimate setting for a meeting or conference.

There are some nice bed and breakfast locations. Some have large beautiful gardens and patios. Others are located on lakes and beaches.

Rarely do we see advertisements for these type businesses outside of travel magazines. Churchgoers take vacations, so why not showcase your location before an online audience?

Realtors Want in Too

Also, hit by the COVID19 pandemic is the real-estate industry. Cross-promotions with churches has provided a new avenue to showcase luxury homes.

Perhaps you’re trying to sell in a planned community. A large church can do more than put your properties before thousands of people. It is a promo that expands beyond Sunday services.

There is so much that can happen. One Sunday I was surprised to log into the service of All Nations Worship Assembly of Atlanta. Pastor LaBryant Friend was delivering his message from the rooftop of a building. His media team was equipped with a drone and other recording equipment.

Although they were atop a business and this was a far-reaching maneuver, imagine the optics if it were a new planned community. The pastor arrives at a designated area while filmed riding in a branded golf cart.

The singers and musicians are performing by the clubhouse pool. Give the virtual welcome in front of the home and the announcements from the designer kitchen. Deliver the sermon in a staged great room or on the landing of a second-story balcony.

Cross-promotion Doesn’t Have to End with COVID19

Different times require different measures. Just as ministries had to come up with different ways to deliver church services, we all need to start thinking more creatively. The exchange can have monetary value and include verbal and visual references of the business.

Cross-promotions are the way to go. Are you an author looking for ways to generate extra income? Check out my article on authors using product placement and cross-promotions in their books.


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