A church recently asked me for a job description for a church communication role. We discussed things like Photoshop, Illustrator, WordPress, Writing, Design, Creativity and other skills. But as we were talking, I realized those things can be learned quite easily. Yes, good communicators need them, but if someone doesn’t possess them, they can simply jump on a website and pick them up. Or a freelancer can assist with their delivery.
Having worked in this church communicator world with clients, employees and suppliers for years, I realize that success for this role is contingent on four traits that must be present in the leader. They’re difficult to learn, so the person has them, or doesn’t, as part of their personality. You really can’t force someone to learn them. They’ll rebel and be difficult to work with.
- A Passion for Church. Someone in this field needs to rely on the Holy Spirit to give them a love for followers-of-Christ. They need to understand the purpose of the Church and be willing to bend-over-backwards for it. They don’t just work in a church; they’re truly part of it.
- A Ministry Enabler. Because this role requires juggling dozens of things, understanding capacity, and managing deadlines, many church communicators become known for saying “no” in order to get other things done. Trying to cope, they often quickly restrict ministry leaders and thereby kill excitement and momentum. Good church communicators empower other ministries enabling those around them to accomplish ministry requirements. What about their time constraints? Sure, they can’t do everything, but they figure out creative ways to get a lot done so ministries are enabled and not held back.
- A Positive Encourager. We know the power of working with positive people. They encourage, dream, and motivate everyone around them. Church communication needs this environment. Then this trait contagiously spreads so that others lose negativity that quenches the Spirit’s work.
- A Constant Learner. The communication world is constantly in flux. Many of our tools were only invented in the last decade. Incredibly, some have only been around for a few months. What an amazing, growing, and interdependent world that we’re privileged to live in! There’s only one way to cope with it though: constant learning. Riding the wave of improving tools and systems that often affect everything. If someone likes stability? They shouldn’t pursue this career.
Deciding who to hire? Look for these traits primarily and rule out anyone that doesn’t exhibit them. Only then look at their writing, design, web, and creative skills as a value-add. View their portfolio for these skills to ensure stylistic standard. Finally, if they have tiny errors (spelling, grammar, smudges, time issues, or presentation issues), I’d be concerned since church communication is all about attention to details.
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