Weekly I hear concerning stories from Pastors or church leaders. They often start with something like, “We have a church communicator who just doesn’t seem to be working out”. Because I lead a large network of church communicators, I focus on what they should be doing better. However, I’ve found that many church leaders don’t know how to guide their person who’s been tasked with “help us communicate better”. Can it be only the communicators fault that the relationship isn’t going well? Probably not.
Here are four ways (from the leadership side) that you can motivate a church communicator into a great relationship with your church (given that they’re willing to raise the bar and work professionally):
- Help them understand the win. Many communicators are given open-ended demands that have different meanings to different people. “Help us communicate better” isn’t the best guidance. It’s better to be specific when describing expectations. Or do you know? Perhaps you should have an honest discussion (listening and sharing) what exactly are the reasonable goals for your communication. “Establish a social media rhythm to engage a greater following (10% more in the next 6 months)” is something that’s measurable and describes the win. Let them be creative in the tactics for accomplishing the goals.
- Give them a budget. Many churches believe that hiring a communicator solves their problems. After carving out a salary for this new position, they don’t have a budget to allow them to successfully accomplish their job. Every employee needs proper tools, additional people to help, ongoing training; as well as an environment that’s suitable to getting the job done. If a church can establish a salary, they can establish a budget for that position. I’ve also found that people will have better ownership of their role if they have control over how they allocate funds.
- Allow them a seat at the table. The church communicator has the crazy task of knowing about every event, ministry, and group in the church. If they don’t know, how will they help everyone else know? Therefore, they need to be included into major meetings where things are planned and decided. The more they’re informed, the better they’ll be for your church. But don’t stop there. They should be a creative consultant at your leadership table, helping guide discussions and ask questions to ensure clarity — if they feel listened to and included.
- Encourage them while leading them. A communicator juggles many details from every ministry. The possibility of dropping something is very high. To the ministry leader who focuses on their specific event, it’s easy to be critical while correcting. The added complexity with a communicator is their creative spirit. Being critical without encouraging will kill their spirit. They must hear more praise than correction or the person will feel self defeated and eventually stop trying to do better.
A church communicator needs a strategy, a process, and good guidance to get excellent work accomplished for your church. Lead them well, and they’ll be a great leader for you.