How can it be? It’s almost the fall and once again many churches realize they have the same communication system that they had last year. Even with all the issues that surfaced and promises made for improvement.
Perhaps it was budget that kept you from accomplishing the improvements you talked about. Perhaps it was just procrastination.
Let’s discuss 3 things that NEED to be accomplished in order to lay a foundation of a communication strategy. Do these basic (and free) things and you’ll see that it’s easier for you to setup and run great communication for your church. It doesn’t take a long period of time either!
- Tier your events. Yes, it’s important that everything isn’t at the same level of importance in your church. Each event basically wants to attract people — so based on how many people an event is trying to reach, you need to internally tier them. So that every event doesn’t yell loudly for attention. For example: Tier 1 tries to reach “everyone” in your congregation (i.e. Summer Picnic or Sermon Series), Tier 2 tries to reach “everyone” in an individual ministry (i.e. Student Picnic or Children’s Fun Day), Tier 3 tries to reach less than “everyone” in a ministry (i.e. Sunday School class or Knitting Club), Tier 4 is an “outside” organization using your facilities (i.e. A Concert that’s touring through your area). Every event will fit into this structure but make sure it works for your church.
- Calendar every event. Now, make sure every event is added to a communication calendar and internally indicate (by color or number) what tier it is. Make sure that everyone who creates events has access to this calendar so that conflicts don’t arise (stop burdening your families with overlaps!). Also make sure that all events are added to the calendar with a generous amount of advance notice. You may want Tier 1 to be on the calendar several months in advance where Tier 3 doesn’t need quite so much time. As soon as something is added to the calendar it sets into motion a communication plan to make sure everyone is aware (who should be aware).
- Decide what each Tier will get. Start with your complete list of communication tools available for your church (announcements, bulletin, newsletter, social media, email, website, etc.). Then, based on the tier, decide how much support each event will get. Let Tier 1 have the most and then fewer things for the subsequent tiers (since they don’t have to reach as many people). Tier 4 may only get a logo and brand manual. Based on the size of your team completing all this work, decide how long you need to accomplish everything. This helps you set your timeline in the last calendaring section. Remember, to never waste anyone’s time with material that they won’t find interesting. That’s why a Tier 3 event shouldn’t be told from the stage. Most people will stop listening since most aren’t going.
Sure, after you have these 3 necessities established, you’ll probably want to strengthen individual tools. But that can come later. For now, start this fall by creating a foundation you can build on. And commit to doing it with excellence!