When it comes to effective Church Communication, ministry silos are bad. Usually church leadership understands that siloing is defined when a church feels like a series of competing departments that simply gather on a campus. Rather than a vibrant church that is known for something in the community with various subgroups helping different groups of people.
The more a church’s groups compete, promote, and draw inward, the more these silos start destroying the “farm” (to take the analogy one step farther). From the audience’s perspective, the competition becomes a reason to ignore or not understand the church.
How do you know if you have silos? And how do you fix them? Here’s what I found:
Every Ministry is talking loudly. In the quest to communicate, each ministry tries to make sure they speak loudly. They’re aware of the other communication noise in the church, so they struggle to rise above the noise and take precedence. It ultimately creates more noise which drives people to listen less. FIX THIS: establish the church’s brand promise (the thread) and reward ministries when they promote that thread. For events, determine who needs the loudest voice (through tiering) based on how many people would be interested in attending. For example, an “all church” event should have a louder voice than an “all ministry” event. Use the tiering to limit channels and timing of those who don’t reach as many in your church. Your church must talk less; so people will listen more. Of course, every event needs a place on a master web calendar and everyone needs to be shown how to find what’s offered for them.
One Ministry doesn’t care about all ministries. Most ministry leaders over a department are highly focused on their tasks and goals. This isn’t a bad thing — except when they aren’t aware of all the other departments. So they tend to become a silo. How can you tell? When in a large group, they tend to brag about their accomplishments and share about their tasks and challenges rather than inquire about others so they can learn from them and work together. FIX THIS: A senior leader needs to motivate team meetings to become something where teamwork truly occurs for the greater good of the overall ministry. This is challenging and takes a special leader!
Ministries have their own colors, fonts, logos, or name. A church needs to be a Branded House and not a House of Brands. All ministries must learn to work together for the common good of the overall Church brand. Can there be sub-brands in a church? Absolutely! But they should have a strong connection to the Church’s brand. FIX THIS: Eliminate (or tone down) all brands that don’t. If you have a Children’s Ministry in a church called Mission Shore Church called “Little Helpers” (and they have a separate logo, colors, etc.), rebrand them to “Mission Shore Kids” and make sure they use one of the churches colors and fonts in their logo. Or even better? Use the Church’s symbol for the kid’s ministry. That way, the power of the Church’s brand adds value to the Children’s brand.