Continued from PART 1
Many are slipping behind with their church communications
There is a proper way to do Church Communications. Here’s the last 2 ways to energize your communications (see first one here):
2. Have you centralized your church communications?
Often a Senior Pastor isn’t aware of everything happening in their church. Why should that be the case? Instead the church needs to create a team of communication experts who are aware of everything that the congregation or community would be attracted or interested in. They become the experts in message delivery. This isn’t a simple job; they have to be given the authority to say “no” as well as have input into the events to allow them to structure the church communications calendar and give deadlines for materials. They need descriptions, sermon titles, and details many days or weeks in advance in order to make everything work properly. The more that this one team controls all these details, the more effective your communications.
a. All ministries must come under the church brand. Every ministry wants to feel autonomous. But they have to understand the importance of being associated with the church’s master brand. It adds weight, importance, and energy to both sides. It’s a win/win situation that uses your budget dollars the most effectively. If each ministry wants to do everything differently, they need to become independent of the church (and pay for their own communications). If the church continually has “rebellious” ministries though, the church needs to consider that there is little value in it’s umbrella brand and should update it.
b. All communications need to be supervised by a centralized editor or director. As we described above, all the content, promotion, ideas, and design needs to be controlled and guided by a centralized communication team. The church often doesn’t need more content creation, they simply need to edit and art direct the content they have. All the ministries together should build the unified brand that it satisfies the congregation (and community) with solutions to their concerns and paths to their goals. The leadership in this area needs to be at the senior leadership table. Don’t want them? Find someone else who’ll add to your leadership. This key person needs to add value and enable ministry rather than restrict it.
c. All satellites need to look like the main campus. With the push for multi-site churches we constantly hear “we’re one church; multiple locations”. Sadly though, from outside the church, everything looks and sounds different. This creates confusion. Stop creating locations that ultimately compete with each other. Together, they need to build your master church brand. Something that you’re all known for. Not re-creating and re-designing everything, every time a location wants to do an activity, will save money and time. So often, the church creates extra work when it doesn’t need to.
3. Have you optimized your church communications?
It’s rare that any church can’t improve some of their communications. Church communications is a growing field that needs constant optimization and upgrading. Many churches have an issue with “where do I start?”. Don’t reinvent the wheel; there are many agencies like ours that will partner with you to demonstrate church best practices. The good ones will help you individualize the approach so that it fits you, feels comfortable, and enables ministry in your community. Here are 3 things to start with:
a. Effective church communications require a strategy. Leadership has to get together and move in the same direction. Many churches start with a vision or mission statement but quickly realize that this theoretical foundation (often a wordy unmemorable statement) does little for the practical roll-out and communication of ministry to the community. You need to create a church communication strategy that unifies benefit-driven messages, prioritizes audiences, and creates timelines for peaceful fulfillment. This encompasses websites, print materials, social media and email communications.
b. Effective church communications require a team. Rarely can one person accomplish all of this unless your church is a very small ministry. You need a creative leader, a writer, an editor, and often a designer and/or programmer. These positions can be full-time, part-time, contracted, or volunteers depending on your budgets. Ultimately you need someone assigned to every responsibility of the communication strategy.
c. Effective church communications require the best tools. These tools that assist in church communications are being created weekly it seems. It’s difficult to keep ahead of the trends. The world is moving away from print materials so you should too. Start with establishing a cost-effective, easy-to-edit-and-update, website (I’d suggest WordPress) that everyone in your congregation and community can trust for accurate material. Consider add-ons (plug-ins and widgets) that help functionality for your online presence. Then determine how your congregation and community are communicating and try to offer what they want. That often means effectively connecting social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, instagram, youtube, etc.) and email campaigns. Text messaging and traditional broadcast mediums (radio, tv, etc) are also being used as budgets allow. But don’t forget about print materials; just reduce their use by pointing your congregation to the trusted online sources.
The Bible commands us to go and tell. Let’s pray that God will use our methods and strategies so that we can reach the lost for Christ. You community truly needs to discover what’s going on in your ministry; don’t allow a broken communication system to keep them from the Good News.