Historically, local churches have divided staff into two areas: the called ministry leadership (who come up with ministry ideas) and talented support-services people (often called Ministry Assistants, Secretaries, etc. who help finish the ideas without much input).
Where does the Communication Role find itself?
Decades ago, Church Communication was much simpler. It was basically changing the church sign, word processing the bulletin, and sometimes producing a church newsletter. Essentially getting someone to do page layout of provided information.
Then things changed in communication. The internet introduced a new information/communication age. The church took advantage of it by hiring suppliers to create a website framework for them. But having the communication tool wasn’t the answer. Proper content needed to be developed and updated. Constantly. This added complexity to the support role by adding to the plethora of material that they were already juggling. It also required more than event promotion to engage people!
Social media arrived and the website complexity became a daily task. The support team simply couldn’t keep up and/or the leadership couldn’t provide enough content in a timely manner.
During this time, colleges started training people to be excellent communicators. Not just content placers, but content developers. They understood the engagement process and ensured information was developed and received properly.
In the church, these new church communicators still need to rely heavily on Ministry Leadership but AS a ministry leader. They actually help create and/or edit the content rather than simply input and place information from someone else. The outcome when this all happens? More content (that works for the church’s communication goals) is created.
Businesses and many Christian organizations realized that this greater role was needed. So early adopters hired talented communicators who helped transformed their look and brand.
However, several years after the shift, some churches created or appointed someone to be in charge of their communication EXCEPT they kept the old school thinking where the communication role was simply someone taking orders from leadership and placing material into a channel. This is wrong.
Not letting the communicator have input or leadership is a disservice to the professional communicator AND the local church. Communication is not simply a support position.
Communication is a calling. An important ministry. A leadership role for the local church. Only when a church realizes this, will the full skills and benefits of a professional communicator be coordinated and effective in our quest for reaching our communities and informing our congregations.