Over the years I’ve decided there are some fundamental pillars or principles when it comes to serving in church communications. If you operate in this framework you will go much further and succeed more than you thought.
1. It’s not about what you think you are communicating. It’s about creating the right response that counts.
This is huge. You’ve got to test your church communications on real people. See how people respond to your message. Because if you don’t, you are gambling that they will respond the way you want them to respond. Get someone to read your copy. Look at your design. Watch a video. Ask them what they think about it.
I remember doing video announcements. We got really efficient and good at them. But we lost the audience. They saw them as an ad break in the service where they could do other things. So we changed and mixed our announcements to re-engage our congregations. And they listened. Read the post here where I write about announcements.
2. Think external and digital first
Churches often slip into an majority internal focus with their communications. Wrong! You’ve got to think externally first. Read this post about why you need to do that.
You also think digital first. Most people are digital first people now. Be the church that is one of them.
3. Have systems that help, but don’t hinder
Systems are great. They can bring order into chaos and help meet pressure cooker deadlines. But sometimes the system itself can be a barrier to the right communication. Be agile in your systems and allow for exceptions to the rule. Don’t be a doormat, but play the exception card when you know you should.
Your system should serve the structure. Not the other way around. Don’t let the system get in the way of a great idea.
4. Are you socially engaging?
Social media is here to stay. But so many churches just have the wrong approach to social media. They think announcements rather than engagement. Read 21 Social Media Tips For Your Church. It will really help your staff and senior leaders.
5. Be smart. Not clever
There is a fine line between smart communications. You know, whimsical can be brilliant. Witty can make a person smile. But sometimes being too clever can lose the point of the communication.
6. Be ready for disruption and change
One of the consistent themes of the last ten years has been the revolutionary shift into digital communications, especially with social media and the internet. More disruption is just around the corner. Be looking for trends early and try and test new ideas early. It may just get stunning results. Read 6 Powerful Trends That Your Church Needs To Act On In 2019.
7. You are in the people business.
Key messages, brand positioning… our work is great, but sometimes we forget we are actually in the people business. Engage with your other members of staff. Get to know them beyond the task or project.
Hang out and interact your congregation. Not only will it help you understand your audience more – their hopes, dreams, disappointments, failures and more about what makes them tick. But you will actually make some friends along the way too. Life is way too short to just be in church as a job. It’s a family.
8. Don’t get lost in the work
You are on the most profound spiritual journey. Use your role as an opportunity to go deeper in your Christian faith, enjoy and explore the mystery. Listen, pray and learn.
Your congregation is also on a spiritual journey. Every single one of them. Don’t forget that. Even the grumpy complaining ones. You are helping them take steps of faith.
What pillar would you add? Leave a comment below. I know you’ve got one!