We’re gullible. We want to believe that everyone has our best interest in mind. That our perceptions are accurate and our best days lie ahead.
Church communicators are no different. I engage with hundreds who are attempting to communicate for busy ministries, and I often hear lies or gullible misconceptions. It’s wise, if you’re in this role or manage someone in the role, to stop believing them. Here are 5:
1. If I work longer hours, I’ll catch up and get everything done. We’re inundated with a lot of projects, details, and meetings. It’s easy to believe that if we work day and night we’ll eventually catch up. Creatives have a magical way of filling available time, so, if the expectations are 60 hrs/wk we’ll take that long. And even then, we’ll have things on our to do list that we’ve procrastinated in finishing. TRUTH: Instead, require challenging deadlines, and stop adding more time. Establish a reasonable workweek and stick with it to avoid burnout.
2. I can do everything myself. We often think it’s easier to do things ourselves instead of training, managing, and motivating other people. It is a lot of work. TRUTH: You’ll do better work in a healthy team environment, so put the hard work into developing other people. PLUS, if you don’t know how to do something, hire an outside consultant to train you or attend amazing conferences like WFX. Spending money for self improvement will ALWAYS pay off.
3. If I design better, people will engage more. As visual people, we watch other successful churches and love the their visual designs. Because we don’t attend their church, we’re not that interested in their content so we tend to overlook it and focus only on the design. We believe that if our design is that good, our congregation and community will engage with us. Not true. TRUTH: Good content will attract and engage; just ensure your design is simple, looks like your church brand, and doesn’t create a barrier to your content. Engagement is rarely about the design.
4. I’m so busy I don’t have time for the right stuff. We make time for things we want to do. Often I hear this as an excuse for not wanting to tackle the right stuff; or not being sure how to get started. TRUTH: If it’s truly the right stuff, you MUST do it and prioritize for it. Need help? See solution for lie #2.
5. If I replicate another church’s communication, our church will grow to their size. Many church communicators are seeking best practices in chat rooms and Facebook pages. Communicators from large ministries share what they believe has worked for them (usually without analytics or proof; just a feeling). People believe that if they follow the proposed principles, they’ll expect their church to grow. Let’s be clear. TRUTH: There are certain tried and tested practices that should be used in every church; however, God has you in a unique city with unique people, in a unique ministry with unique leadership, in a unique church with a unique message. Practice effective communication and expect unique outcomes. My suggestion: Get to know your community so well you can anticipate what they need that your church provides, and deliver simple content in a way they want. Stop copying what other churches are doing. God wants to use your unique abilities to work uniquely in your church communications.