This is a case study examination of EXCITE Church, a Melbourne, Australia-based church. The charge is positioned as a youth’s church and was established by a local university student. It has been experiencing financial and operational difficulties as a result of its inefficiencies. Based on the existing difficulties and possibilities in that area, this case study has generated potential new solutions. As a result, the main goal of the research is to reorient the church in order to overcome its current limitations.
Table of Content
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Industry overview
- 3 Overview of the organization
- 4 Current positioning
- 4.1 Key functions
- 4.2 Source of fund
- 5 Current challenges
- 5.1 Financial constraints
- 5.2 Lack of pastoral services
- 5.3 Inefficiency of management
- 6 Strategic direction
- 6.1 Objectives for repositioning
- 6.2 Development of new strategies
- 6.3 Implementation of new strategies
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 Recommendation
- Appendix1: Organisational structure
This research is a case study examination of Excite Church’s entire operations, which is having difficulty managing its activities due to budgetary limitations. It is a Melbourne, Australia-based evangelical congregation. Though the church has been drawing many people and attendance is increasing, it is unable to effectively manage its entire operation, which includes the employment of full-time staff as well as the level of services it offers to visitors and members, due to financial problems. The primary goal of this research is to create a repositioning strategy for the church in order to recruit more new members and boost financial resources so that it can offer high-quality services to its members and guests.
This case study was created using an academic idea and may only be used for academic reasons. Neither the management of the church nor any member or any persons are related to the church are involved in the development of this case analysis. The information about the church has been used in this case analysis based on the information provided in the academic case study. This should be used for any financial or management decision making by any authority or any individual.
This paper outlines the effective repositioning strategy and management method that the church should adopt and execute in order to overcome financial and operational limitations, manage the church’s entire operations, and offer excellent service. This research may be useful for other academic case studies on how to reposition a company’s business to put it in the growth stage. This research is also beneficial in the creation of efficient customer service management in order to improve customer satisfaction. As a result, it discusses company growth in terms of consumer pleasure.
2 Industry Overview
Although the church is a non-profit service organization, it competes with all of the other churches in a given area. Competition from other churches in the region is also a factor for EXCITE church. The church has had difficulty converting first-time visitors into permanent members, as well as retaining current members. Some tourists choose to worship in large churches because of the high level of ministry (Attaway, Boles & Singley, 1956, p.17). In terms of worship, large churches have full-time ministry, which means that members may get ministry services even on weekdays. Some of EXCITE Church’s Melbourne rivals can afford to hire a full-time musician to offer entertainment to members and guests. They also provide a wide variety of ministries that cater to families, students, children, and the elderly. In contrast to its rivals’ services, EXCITE Church exclusively serves university students.
3 Overview of the Organization
EXCITED was founded in 2007. Despite the fact that the church is a non-profit service organization, it competes with other churches in the area. Competition from other churches in the region is also a factor for EXCITE church. The church has had difficulty converting first-time visitors into permanent members, as well as retaining current members. Some tourists choose to worship in large churches because of the high level of ministry (Attaway, Boles & Singley, 1956, p.17). In terms of worship, large churches have full-time ministry, which means that members may get ministry services even on weekdays. Some of EXCITE Church’s Melbourne rivals can afford to hire a full-time musician to offer entertainment to members and guests. They also provide a wide variety of ministries that cater to families, students, children, and the elderly. In contrast to its rivals’ services, EXCITE Church exclusively serves university students. y a group of Monash University students. It had a vision that it will reach out to the international student community in the Melbourne central business district and suburban areas. The students contribute most to the total number of church members. The church has hired a place of Monash University for its weekly services and has made the place accessible for the church’s existing members as well as visitors or the prospective members. A volunteer pastor has been leading this church’s overall operation. The church had employed a part-time employee in the time of establishment of it but recently there is no full time employee in the church due to the financial constraints the church is facing.
4 Current Positioning
Currently the charge has positioned as youth’s church only and it has been focusing on the student of the university. It conducts substantial promotional activities throughout the year. The pick time of these campaigns are at the beginning of each semester to get attention of the newly enrolled international students in the university. Promotional activities include distribution of brochures, posters, advertisements in the student magazine and in the different student notice boards. Apart from these promotional activities it also provides its existing members t-shirts and business cards to spread the promotion by the friends of the members. It also promotes online through Facebook and the upcoming events and the existing members list are available on the Facebook page. The charge has set up a welcome lounge for the visitors or the prospective members to meet with the church leaders at the church services. After this meeting with the larder, every one of them get a welcome card where they fill their personal details and return it back to the church ushers. The newcomers are informed in the following week about the upcoming events and activities of the church.
4.1 Key Functions
Majority of the church offers are wedding, funeral and baptisms etc and these services are intangible in nature. Though this intangibility of the services is recognised by the distinctive characteristics of the services the church offers (Abreu, 2006, p.139). The members of the church participate in significant level in the production, delivery and the consumption of the services. So, the church members are consider as partial employees as well as productive sources as they contribute their valuable time, effort and other input to enhance the overall performance and service quality of the church.
4.2 Source of Fund
With the financial and the operational duties the members of the church are also responsible for the church’s marketing activities in terms of sales and promotion. For the voluntary services of the members and the financial contribution simultaneously works together as sales for the church. Because the members contribute money for the services they get including ministry and other services. These services are intangible in nature and the charge authority do not fix price for the services so it totally based on the contribution. So sales depend on the numbers of members as well as their financial contribution. So, there is no particular sales depart5ment and the members only generate and increase sales by taking their friends and relatives to become the members of the church and thus the sales increases (Kara, Spillan & Deshields, 2004, p.63).
5 Current Challenges
Though, the church members contribute their time and effort for developing an effective promotion throughout the year, but the promotional cost is far more than the money inflow for the development and the operations of the church. Over the past two years the growth of the church has been seen by only the increasing no of visitors. But the church has been facing several challenges in managing its overall operation. The first challenge is that the members are not increasing although the number of visitors is increasing. The church provides services to these visitors by its best level but they are not becoming the members due to many drawbacks of the church’s services. Operating cost of the church is very high as it’s includes the huge promotional cost which is not being effective for the church. Apart from the promotional cost the rent of the venue and the honorarium fees for the guest speaker contributes in the high operational cost of the church.
5.1 Financial Constraints
The members of the church are only the students of the university and they have limited income. Church’s money income is only depends of the contribution of the church’s members and income gained from weekly from the university students are not sufficient to cover the total operational cost of the church. For this reason, the church has become highly dependent on the fundraising activities and the donation from the non members which negatively affects its reputation to the prospective members.
5.2 Lack of Pastoral Services
This financial constraints has resulted the inability of the church to employs full time pastor and for this reason it has to heavily dependent on the volunteers. The head pastor is full time lecturer of the university and has limited time to oversee the pastoral needs for the church members. The members have also complained in the past that they were not satisfied with the pastoral services and their needs are overlooked by the pastor as pastor often not available for the counselling to the members in the weekdays. For this some members of the church has left this and joined in other churches in the city Melbourne. They have cited the reason for their leaving as they had not got required pastoral attention.
5.3 Inefficiency of Management
Due to the inability of the church to employ full time employee it highly depends on the volunteers and it has adverse effect on the service quality of the church. Volunteers who are involved in the ministry are often late during the roster and the pastor also is hesitant to address this issue as they are all volunteers. As the members of the church are only the students and their contribution to the church’s services are secondary work of them as they have enough study loads which is the primary work of them. This is problems occurs in the commitment of them to the church’s ministry service. During the time of exam students become busy with their studies and in time of semester break they go back to their home. So in these periods the church runs by limited resources in terms of financial contribution as well as volunteer services. Some important and necessary activities of the church’s daily operation like music, hospitality and pastoral care suffer badly during this period. So, the church depends on the local students at the time semester break and the service quality automatically decreases.
6 Strategic Direction
6.1 Objectives for Repositioning
Growth of a religion in a particular region was inhibited by churches’ inability to adopt effective marketing concept and implementation of those (Culliton, 1959, p.86). The constituent of the EXCITE Church like the charge members, ministers and the members of the public and they are the main focus of the church’s marketing, operational and also financial effort. The marketing, as well as operational aim of this church, is to design of relevant products and services which it offers to satisfy the needs of those constraints. Not only the offering variety of service but also the quality of the services needs to be efficient so that it can compete with other churches in that region.
6.2 Development of New Strategies
To develop effective strategies for the repositioning of the church there need to be considered some future positive assumptions or possibilities. The local community are not fully satisfied with other churches’ service where they are the current members. All the families have not become the member of other churches in that area. It is assumed that 50% of the targeted families, young professionals and also the new students might be interested in the unique services the church is will be offering.
The organizational structure need to be developed in hierarchical pattern. Pastor will be the head of the organisation following a team of effective members who can contribute time and effort for the church, will be the board of management of the church. It needs to employ few employees for maintenance of the overall church premises like kids’ garden, welcome lounge, cafeteria cum community hall etc.
To address the current financial problems the church need to reposition its strategies. Firstly, it needs expand its current target segment i.e. people other than the university students. It needs to target families and young professionals of the locality to generate more income to cover its operational cost. For this target segment expansion it needs to offer more services which might be the key of attraction for those additional resources. Secondly, the church is identified as student’s church so it needs to continue focus on the university student while looking for the additional resources of income and maintain the uniqueness and sense of identity for the long term success. So, broadly the church needs to be positioned as family church instead of youth service church but should not lose its focus from its initial target segment (Coleman, 2002, p. 78).
6.3 Implementation of New Strategies
Implementing of this repositioning strategy is not so easy as to develop the strategy. EXCITE church is already identified as university student’s church and that is why the local families have not shown any interest from the time of its establishment. Most of them have already become the member of other churches in the area where families are considered as the key target segment. So to attract this potential target segment it needs to develop unique service like Sunday school for the kids of those families. As kids are generally the consumers and their parents and the guardians are the customer as they pay for services used by their kids. Apart from this the church needs to make small children’s park inside the church premises so that the families will get the desire to come here to spent time with their kids in the afternoon (Alan, 2000, p.39). These quality of these services needs to be effective so that the family members willing to contribute more than the operational cost for these services. The management needs to organize art and music competition for the kids as well for the students of the university and the youth professional of the locality. These will generate crowd at the church and they are also the prospective members. By providing quality services not only the existing members but the visitors will also contribute which will be the additional resources of income for the church (ECC, 2011). The church can develop an open coffee shop where the visitors can get The funeral service of the church has been not so active till now as the society involvement is very less. So if the church is positioned as a family church then this service might also be another effective add on for the society. This will also generate substantial income for the church as cost is not much higher for this services even the expected contribution for this services might be more than the service cost.
So, repositioning of the church includes development of some new and unique services and the quality betterment of the existing services. These will need some changes in the current promotional activities and also required a good at a time investment. For the promotional activities the current members i.e. the university students need to make the local communities aware about the repositioning plan and they needs to inform the services that the church is going to offer for the families located in that area. The current members or the volunteers need to ask for contribution from those families for using any services for quarterly, half yearly and also yearly basis. To keep the focus on the students of the university who have been the key identification for the church and also the key reason for the establishment of it, also need be considered in these repositioning activities. For this, the church needs to provide a full time pastor who will be available for the members and also the visitors, lack of which has been the key reasons for the students join as member of the church. Apart from this some unique activities need to done in the church considering the youths’ hobbies and passion and also desire like music and art competition, award celebration for innovation of technology students where the local professional can also participate. These activities might become the competencies for the church and for these the students might also contribute substantial amount at a time for the development and the repositioning of the church (Chan & Chau, 1998, p. 10).
EXCITE Church was established by the students of the university targeting only the students of the university as the possible and prospective members of the church. But only the contribution from the students of limited income has not been covering its overall operational cost. Thus the quality of the services that the church offers has been declining and this has become the key reason for not increasing the numbers of the members with respect to the number of current visitors of the church. So, the church needs to reposition its recognition as well the quality of the services to attract the local families. It has an opportunity to develop some unique services for the potential target audiences so that it can get enough financial resources in terms of contribution from them to use those services. For this the church need to be recognised as family church rather than youth service church. It also needs to keep focus on the students of the university and need to develop new services considering their needs so that many of them will become the member and also contribute substantial amount for the development of the church.
To raise adequate funds at a given moment, the church’s leadership must persuade both local communities and incoming pupils. The pastor is responsible for overseeing the entire administration of the repositioning operations in order to ensure that the new money is allocated efficiently and effectively. The pastor must also be rigorous with the members’ rules and regulations, such as punctuality and dress code. As a non-profit organization, the church must offer services that exceed the expectations of its members and guests (Walter, 2012).
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Appendix1: Organisational Structure