The ROI of the Sistine Chapel

I found this tongue and cheek video on YouTube suggesting that the reason Michangelo was commissioned by the Catholic Church to paint the Sistine chapel was to drive revenue and increase traffic to the church.   While it is amusing to append modern marketing-speak and powerpoint graphics to the point of almost sacriledge, it does make us draw some modern parallels to modern day churches. 

The video suggests that because of the art on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, people were staying longer in the church, praying more and giving more.  And this helped expand the Catholic Church to be ahead of it’s competition in the day. 

Perhaps that was true. 

While we will likely never see another work of art like what was painted on the ceiling of the chapel, let’s fast forward a few hundred years.  As marketers – especially those of us who specialize in branding – we too are trying to paint a masterpiece inside our churches.  Our canvas, however, is not layered with paint but with experience. 

We use music, messaging and community to create an experience that draws people in, captivates their hearts and motivates them to become better Christians. 

So what does our ROI look like?

Less empty seats.  More community groups.  More engagement.  New faces.  And a growing church. 

So while this video is amusing, the point is right on.  We must always keep focus on the total experience inside our four walls and make sure it connects with people so they stay longer, pray more and give more.


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