How to communicate location change (or time change)
Churches occasionally need to communicate location change. Why? Because the only thing consistent in life is change. Church locations and times often need adjusting.
Best case? A church is expanding because their location can’t fit the growing current or potential audience. If a new building isn’t viable for the budget, then adding services and restructuring times often solves the issue. When communicating time change, it’s similar to location change.
Worst case? A church is downsizing or eliminating services because of decline. For this, the local church needs to take a serious look at ministry and branding to identify what’s broken. It’s probably not just a wrong location or time.
Here are 6 ways to successfully communicate location change (or time change):
- Make it about them and their benefit. Like all communication, the church needs to voice the communication so THEY understand the changes. Your internal audience (members) will be most affected so try to communicate the change so they can understand the potential for THEM (ultimately) and the why. Remember, they haven’t discussed it as much as leadership so start slowly.
- Start communicating early. Once the decision is made and preparations begin, start communicating. Be brief and clear. Remember, leadership will feel it’s overly redundant when it’s just enough. Most regular attenders need to hear it a couple of times and they’re not attending every week.
- Dedicate email communication. 3-4 weeks in advance dedicate at least 1 email to a short communication (<100 words) about the changes. Include bullet points for the “why’s” with a clear, bold statement of the new location or times. Include a clear subject line (i.e. “Important! Changes you need to know”). Just before the actual change, that email should be sent again. Be aware of open rates!
- Be consistent and clear on all location areas of your website. Keep the clear bold statement of the change consistent (font, style, words, abbreviations) on all your communication. You don’t want any confusion! Use social media posts to discuss the changes as they get closer (with similar language).
- Change all location channels. Remember Google maps and business listings need to change at the appropriate time. This new information is normally for new potential audiences so, communicate location change there the week prior. It’s also a good time to update social media descriptions and other channels that mention your location and service times. You don’t want any “old” information!
- After the change, gradually stop. Similar to the way you gradually ramped up communication of location change over time, don’t stop abruptly after the change. Mention it less over time, and then stop. However, as the changes provide THEM benefits, reinforce the communication so THEY know it.