Seven Essentials of a Great Church Communications Director

Church communications is a burgeoning field. And the position of church communications director/manager/coordinator has become ubiquitous in many large churches. But it’s not just the large churches that are looking to fill this role. Mid-size and small churches are realizing the importance of having a singular person responsible for their church’s communications and social media.

So what should a church look for when finding a full-time, part-time, or volunteer communications coordinator? These seven qualities should be evident in that person:

  1. An understanding of the church. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen churches hire people unfamiliar with church dynamics or even outsource their communications work to generic companies. Subtlety is lost, language gets obfuscated, and the message just doesn’t come out correctly. Having someone who knows church life is always preferred.
  2. Grammar knowledge. Typos will invariably still happen, but hiring someone who knows grammar and understands how to write well will raise the level of everything your church produces online and in print.
  3. A desire to constantly learn. Social media is a fast-paced world. Effective communications directors will be on the cutting edge of what’s next in the digital space. They will have a desire to stay informed and to constantly move your church forward with its communications.
  4. An eye for design. Most churches don’t have the funds to have everything professionally designed. Smaller projects will require in-house design and direction. Having at least a basic knowledge of what constitutes good design is necessary.
  5. An ability to adapt. Church life is ever changing—especially in churches that are growing quickly. The ability to adapt when new initiatives are started is critical. You can’t keep doing what you’ve always done and expect to be effective with your church communications.
  6. Social savvy. As the importance and usage of social media increase, so does the importance of knowing what constitutes effective social media content. Each channel has different features, different audiences, and prefers different content. Having the necessary savvy to navigate each channel is invaluable.
  7. A passion for the lost. This quality has little to do with the actual duties of a communications coordinator. But if you’re going to hire someone to serve at a church, that person needs to be invested and passionate about the mission of the church. Kingdom work—no matter the job title—is a calling. Don’t bring someone on the team who doesn’t have that calling.

What would you add to this list? What other qualities have you seen in church communications coordinators that make them effective?

Read more from Jonathan.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Howe

Jonathan Howe serves as vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee. He oversee all SBC Executive Committee communications including SBC.net, SBC LIFE, Baptist Press, social media initiatives and other media and messaging strategies. Howe was formerly the Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Areas of Communication that Church Leaders Need to Audit Regularly

Everything your church does is communication, from the condition of the parking lot to the content in your bulletin to the tone of your sermon. Everything you do communicates something about what you really value, regardless of what you say you value.

I’m a church communications nut. I read dozens of blogs on design, branding, social media and marketing. I’ve designed logos, websites, and print pieces for dozens of churches. So I’ve perfected the art and science of church communications, right? Actually, in the last week, I received an email from someone who couldn’t find a location for our services, another who had a hard time finding out how to get involved, and a third who couldn’t find details on a couple of upcoming events. #humbled

But our bulletin does look kind of pretty…

Since the publishing and communication of the gospel is paramount, I’ve learned the value of doing some punch-me-in-the-gut audits of our communication strategy. We’re constantly tweaking and improving so that we can put our best foot forward and do the best possible job of getting the word out, connecting people to each other, plugging people in, and staying in touch.

To every Lead Pastor I would say, you need to perform an audit of your church’s communication strategy to see if all those sermons you’re studying so hard for will have maximum reach in your community. Here’s a questionnaire, divided by areas of communication.

BRANDING

Phil Cooke defines a brand as “the story people tell about a person, product, or organization.” Yourchurch has a brand in your community whether you realize it or not. The key to understanding your brand is to find out what story people tell when your church gets brought up in conversation. That’s your brand.

  • What story do we want people to associate with our church? How would we like people to feel when they think about us?
  • What story do people actually tell about us? And how do we know this?
  • Does the appearance of our building, landscaping, and outdoor signage communicate the feelings we want people to experience?
  • Do we have a church logo that communicates the feeling and the story we want people to experience?
  • Does our website, bulletin, and other printed materials such as brochures, business/invite cards, or postcards uniformly agree with the story we’re telling across the board?

CHURCH WEBSITE

If you’re not found in a Google search for churches in your area, you don’t exist to people moving into town. A website is essential, even if it’s a free or inexpensively made website. And while not every church can afford the fees charged by professional designers, we still ought to invest in our website with both energy and resources that honor the importance of this crucial area of communication.

  • Is our website responsive and mobile-friendly?
  • Is our most basic information easy to find on our main homepage (location, service times, etc.)?
  • Do we use imagery that tells people that we’re human, we’re alive, and we’re welcoming?
  • Are event listings available and up-to-date?
  • Can people easily know what we believe? what we value? and how we function?
  • Do we have links to our Facebook page and other social profiles on our website?
  • Is there a way for people to reach out and get in touch with us without leaving our website?
  • Can people easily know how to pursue next steps such as baptism, joining a small group, or volunteering in an area of ministry?
  • Do we have a page dedicated to our staff and/or key leaders so that potential visitors can know who we are?

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is a weird phrase. Media is just information, and “social” simply refers to how information spreads – from person to person, socially. When we use the phrase “social media” we’re generally referring to the websites or web-based platforms used for social networking. While a previous generation got to know social media as an optional activity, an up-and-coming generation sees social media the way we see oxygen – it’s just part of the air people are breathing.

  • Do we have a main church Facebook page?
  • Do the header and profile images represent us well? Are they consistent with the branding on our website and print pieces?
  • Are we a location that people can check into when they visit on Sunday?
  • Is our address, phone number, and website address displayed in the ‘about’ area?
  • Are we posting regularly? At least weekly if not several times per week?
  • Are we posting a variety of content such as pictures, text, and links?
  • Are we offering more than just announcements? Are we also telling stories, giving valuable content, and extending the preaching of our church in a positive way?
  • Do we engage our fans and followers by responding to comments?
  • Are our key leaders using social media? Are they on Facebook and Twitter? And do they promote the ministry of the church through those platforms?

PRINT DESIGN

Many experts claim that “print is dying” but most people walking through the doors of a church building on Sunday still expect some kind of bulletin to know what’s going on.

  • Does our bulletin look nice and clean? Does it match the look of our website and other communication mediums?
  • Have we put guests first, using bulletin space to explain what to expect during their visit?
  • Have we made it clear what announcements are really the most important?
  • Do we use valuable space to communicate church-wide what could be communicated via a different means to only a few people?
  • Have we offered clear “next steps” such as were to go online to get more information, how to sign up for events, and who to talk to about knowing Jesus, baptism, or church membership?
  • Are we using readable typefaces?

COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

A lot of work goes into planning special events and ministries. It’s a shame for that work to go to waste when the right people don’t know about the event or service we’re working toward. Systems are imperative if we’re going to communicate effectively.

  • Do we have a process to follow when an event is planned?
  • Do we have a calendar that can be seen and shared by all leaders to avoid scheduling conflicts?
  • Do we have a checklist to glance at to be sure we’ve communicated events using every necessary means?
  • Have we made it clear that only major, church-wide announcements need to be communicated from the stage or pulpit?
  • Do we have any kind of content calendar or plan for what updates get posted on our website and social profiles and what times they should be posted?

There is more. Much more, in fact. But these 33 questions offer a great starting place for the leadership team of any small to medium-sized church. Knowing where we are and how we’re doing is half the battle!

> Read more from Brandon.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, a Saddleback-sponsored church. He also serves as Editor of Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders (brandonacox.com). He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Communication Tasks to Stop Doing

How your church presents itself visually is incredibly important. People are increasingly visual learners, so your church needs to ensure it presents a compelling visual aesthetic in everything you do. Even if you have a graphic designer on your staff, the increased visual needs can be difficult to keep up with. You need to keep things fresh and current, and in order to do that you need help.

In the past, we’ve talked about using Virtual Assistants in local churches. Today, we want to challenge you to “outsource” some of the graphic design tasks your church should be doing to a third-party design firm. We strongly endorse Design Pickle. They provide flat rate, unlimited design services for a fraction of what it costs to hire a full-time designer. We’d encourage your church to check it out — drop by this site to learn more. Here are five design tasks you should consider outsourcing right away:

  • Social Media Graphics // To keep people engaged on social media, you need to keep feeding Facebook, Instagram and whatever other networks you connect on new visuals. Take images of your senior pastor teaching and combine them with quotes from the messages for compelling quote squares. Repurpose the announcement slides from your weekend services into social media infographics that remind people about upcoming events at your church. Both of these tasks are really template driven and disappear so quickly — it’s best to outsource them to another firm rather than having your team do them.
  • Repurposed Series Graphics // Many churches create compelling series graphics that entice people to attend their church. Often a core look is created and then derivatives of that image are produced (e.g., cover for the program, Facebook cover, website header graphics, email header, Twitter square, etc.). Rather than having your team do all the “downstream” work, have them focus on the core creative work and then pass the “repurposing” on to a third-party group to do.
  • Department Flyers // Your youth department has new events every few weeks. They need great looking flyers but you don’t want the youth ministry staff spending time making their flyers look pretty … you want them building up leaders and reaching students. Have your team pull together the event name, description “blurb,” and date/time/location details, along with a couple other advertisements they like, and give them to a firm like Design Pickle to do the work. The student team will be happy because they will get more design time and variety. If you have a communications department, they will be happy for not having to dream up a new approach every time.
  • Sunday Morning Slides // Many churches have a “slide rotation” that plays before every service. These pre-service ads often include information about upcoming events, images of staff and general information about the church. Keeping these images up to date can be a pain, as the information on them is constantly in flux. (Not to mention that not many people are sitting in most auditoriums before the start of the service, meaning the design team has low motivation to do these graphics!) Why not email the changes on these graphics to a third-party firm every week and have them turn around what needs to be done?
  • Internal Reports // You know that boring chart you send to people every month? How about that monthly report you do for your leadership team? What about those slides at your quarterly staff meeting? The people receiving your internal communications deserve it to look great. Often churches with great “external facing” graphics have really crappy looking internal communications. That shouldn’t be so! Excellent communications with your team breeds excellence as they interact with their teams. Send those internal communications pieces to a low-cost external firm to make sure they look great and communicate what you want them to.

The key to any third-party service like outsourced graphic design is thinking of it as a way to increase your reach and impact — not just as a way to decrease cost. You’re doing more for less. Look for strategically important graphic design tasks that are regular and repetitive … those are great candidates for passing off to another firm.

> Read more from Rich.


Would you like to learn more about improving your communications? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Communication Lessons Churches Can Learn from the Brian Williams Controversy

Brian Williams seems like a good guy. He’s been married for almost 30 years … consistently reported news to the American public for NBC News for almost as long … gosh, the guy even won “Father of the Year”! [ref]

Over the last six months, it all started to unravel for him. He was caught bending the truth in a number of stories to make himself sound even better than he is and it cost him a lot. The pattern is that as time passed he put himself closer to the action than he really was for dramatic effect. Rather than seeing a helicopter being fired on, he told the story of how the helicopter he was in was shot down … instead of reporting on what the SEAL team did in Iraq, he claimed to be there with them … he reported that he arrived at the Berlin Wall as it was coming down, but in fact he arrived the next morning.

This story makes my skin crawl, because the same impulse that was inside Brian Williams is inside me. I can see the pride that drove him to do this, because I see that same pride in myself. Unless we keep our egos in check, we can find ourselves in the same spot that Brian did, bending the truth to put ourselves closer to the center of the action so people will be drawn to us.

The Brian Williams controversy brings up some areas we should think about carefully as we communicate in our churches:

  • Let the truth get in the way of a good story // Sometimes the truth isn’t a good story. It’s not as neat and tidy as we’re tempted to make it. What actually happened doesn’t fit the narrative we’re trying to tell, so we are tempted to nip and tuck the story to fit the point we’re trying to make. We push the story from being polished to being re-written. Don’t force a story to become bigger, better or more interesting than it actually is to get your point across. Use a clip from a movie or television show … those people are in the storytelling business and will get your point across in a form that is clearly narrative in nature. (Preachers: Pay close attention to this with your kids. If you tell a story that doesn’t sound like what actually happened, they will know and it will erode their trust.)
  • How big is your church? Really? // Is your Sunday morning attendance averaging 415, but you report it as almost 500 attending? Did 20 students and 10 leaders attend your youth event, but you said close to 40 people came? Did 102 people sign up for your conference, but you report well over 100 people are signed up already? It’s so easy and tempting to fall into this game. So much about ministry is difficult to track and measure, so we hold onto attendance numbers as a sign of our effectiveness. We want to be bigger than we are, because we believe it shows greater effectiveness. I recently learned that one of the largest churches in the country under-reports its numbers by a significant margin, because their lead pastor doesn’t want to get caught up in this game. My respect for that leader and this ministry shot up! I was also humbled, because I’ve played this game in the past.
  • We’re not that big of a deal // I think part of where it started to unravel for Brian Williams was when he ventured beyond reporting on the news to becoming a personality. A number of times when he embellished stories, he wasn’t on the news program, but on other entertainment-oriented programs (Late Night with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, etc.). Being a news anchor is not nearly as exciting or adventurous as what most of the guests on those programs do. Brian stretched the truth to distance himself from his normal day job and make himself look cooler. We face the same temptation as church leaders. If there was a scale of “social importance” or “coolness factor,” church leadership would be low on the list and getting lower all the time. It’s a noble calling, but what we do is misunderstood by wide segments of our communities and we could face a similar temptation to make what we do sound cooler than it actually is. I remember hearing the story of a pastor who introduced himself as a “life coach and motivational speaker,” because pastor didn’t sound good enough. I threw up a little when I heard that. We’re church leaders and, honestly, it’s not that cool. Even the biggest of churches are dwarfed by the communities they serve. Avoid the temptation to jazz up what we do for a living.
  • Style over substance // Brian Williams looks like he was genetically constructed to anchor the news. In fact, he has shaped his appearance, speech patterns, gestures, eye contact and more to play that role. He was playing a character and he tried to extend it into more exciting roles. Leading within the church can present itself with a similar challenge. If we’re not careful, we can focus on external cues that help people follow us—our looks, the pattern of our speech, our clothing, etc.—but fail to develop our internal character. I recently heard a friend give some stellar advice to another friend who is the “heir apparent” to a large church. He encouraged his friend to “work on your character so when the time comes to assume leadership, you’ll have the internal life to actually accept it fully.” There is a “performance side” to our leadership within the church. We need to foster the internal spiritual life to match the external life we display for people.

I’d love to hear from you. In what other areas do you think church leaders are tempted to bend the truth? When have you been tempted?

> Read more from Rich.


Would you like to learn more about communication tips and techniques? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Don’t Lose Clarity in Your Church Communications

Clarity is the highest goal of all church communications. Our role is to cut through the clutter and deliver the message we are giving with as much precision as possible. In order to do that we employ a wide variety of tactics to persuade people towards the goals that we’ve set. In an effort to persuade our communications can slip to a place where they stop being clear and become just clever. We can become too self-impressed with how we’re communicating the message that the content of the message is lost.

Here are a handful of times that I’ve seen churches lose clarity when communicating with their community:

  • Family Ministry Environment Names // When a first time guest sees the names of your kid’s and student’s ministries do they make sense? If I have an infant do I take them to “WhizBangLand” or “GrowUpGang”? Too many churches employ clever ministry names that don’t make sense to people outside of the church. It’s the ultimate insider focused tactic to use names that are not self-evident to guests. Make sure people can clearly understand the signage and printed materials about your family ministry environments without having to interpret what they mean.
  • Campus Location Labeling // Too often churches attempt to be clever by naming campuses using relative locations to the original campus … Crossroads Church North, St. Paul’s East … the problem is that naming convention assumes that the new campus is a small satellite of something larger. Quickly after you launch people will attend the new location that have never been to the original campus … when you use a naming convention that points back to the first location it diminishes the work in the new campus. Pick an approach to labeling the new location that casts vision for the community for want to reach … Crossroad Church Essex County, St. Paul’s Uptown.
  • Graphic Design // Can I speak to the graphic designers for a minute? There is a difference between something looking amazing and it communicating clearly. Most of the great art I’ve ever seen is ambiguous and hard to understand what the artist is saying. The fact that I need to wrestle with the meaning of the piece is what makes it art. Your role as a graphic designer is to use elements of design to communicate a message. Communication leads … art follows. It would be prettier to have the super slender font on that flyer … but people wouldn’t understand that it’s talking about. This isn’t a tension to be managed … communication comes before beauty … function before form.
  • Next Steps // Once people start attending your church for a while they will be looking for their next steps to getting connected. Often I’ve seen churches call their first steps for new people some fancy name that just doesn’t make sense on the surface … Discovery Class, Engage, Connection. By definition, people who are new to your church don’t have any sense of your “integration process” and are just wondering what they should do first. At our church we call this environment First Step because we want it to be the first thing people who when they come to our church. This is also the case when you ask people to take any sort of “next step” in their spiritual journey. Make the right next step obvious and clear.
  • Financial Reporting // Report your finances in a way that can be easily understood by “non-financial” people. Use plain language, simple charts and clear commentary when talking about the financial state of the church. Financials are not self-evident to most people. We need to provide simple commentary that helps people benchmark what is happening in the life of the church. Bold clarity in this area will build trust with your donors and ultimately encourage them to give more to your ministry. If people don’t understand this part of what happens at your church they will be less likely to give. Active obfuscation of the truth is the shortest route to financial ruin of a church.
  • Online Calls to Action // Your church’s website probably has too many options on it. When people arrive at your site what do you want them to “do”? Are you focusing their attention on just a few next steps rather than a wide variety of options? Every ministry wants to be “featured” on your site … but if you “feature” them all you will just generate clutter and noise for your guests. Often we use our websites to move people to action in our church … asking them to donate, join a small group, volunteer for a team, connect with our team, etc … but when we pile on the “calls to action” each new ask erodes the impact of the last.

> Read more from Rich.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

8 Bad Habits that Keep Your Church Communications Stuck in a Rut

We can get stuck in a rut when it comes to our leadership and church communications. Even in the most “progressive” churches we can just do things the way that they have always been done. Here are a few areas that I think we can suffer from our past habits sneaking up on us …

  • Too Much Reliance on the Bulletin // The church bulletin is still a staple communications tool in church’s today. But if you think that getting your “ad” in the program will move people to action in your church you may be delusional.  Try this … put an ad in this weekend’s bulletin offering $10 for the first 10 people that contact you via email … you’ll be surprised how few people contact you. If it’s important to communicate to your church than you need to use many channels to get the message out!
  • Using the Senior Pastor as the Magic Bullet // We all know that if the lead pastor at your church gets up and communicates whatever the need is your people will be moved to action. But the more that person leverages their influence in this way the less effective it is. Choose wisely how you manage the finite amount of trust your senior leaders have with people … don’t waste it on secondary issues at your church.
  • Too Many Messages // How many things are you “asking” your people to be involved with? Cut it in half … and then next year cut it in half again. Narrow the focus on what you communicate about to get traction in your church. The more you talk about the less likely any of it will make an impact.
  • Way Too Much Asking … Not Enough Celebrating // We suffer from talking too much about the future in our churches … asking people to come to events, join small groups, volunteer for upcoming outreaches. We need to spend more time celebrating what has happened in the life our churches! Thank donors. Take time out to declare isn’t it great to be a part of us?!
  • Complex Response Systems // We want to make it easier for “us” so we make our people jump through more hoops than is necessary to sign up for stuff. We should be finding ways to reduce friction for our people … simplify, simplify simplify! Typically that means it’s going to be more work for “us” … but that’s ok … that’s what being in leadership is all about!
  • Lousy Visuals // We live in a post-literate society. Your people need you to communicate with them in a visual manner. Your messages need compelling images (and video?) to move people to action. Most church leaders think in words and concepts while the people we lead are visual learners … we need to close that gap!
  • Acronyms // This is a serious pet peeve of mine … acronyms are total “insider language”. They aren’t friendly to the people we are trying to lead. They are used by the “in” people to have a “code language” that can’t be understood by outsiders … acronyms make us feel great but make new people feel left out. (Similar … “cool” program names that aren’t self evident. It’s cool that your kids program is called Nirmātā Land … but the fact that you need to constantly explain that it means Creator Land in Nepalese is sideways energy and confuses outsiders.)
  • You’re Passionate … They’re Not // We’re called to shepherd and lead the people that we serve. By definition the shepherd is more passionate and knowledgeable than the sheep. Stop assuming that your people care about what is happening at your church. Don’t whine that people aren’t joining your ministry approach … it’s our job to raise our programs up in their priorities. They don’t come to it passionate … our role is to lead them there … to shepherd them.

Each one of those I’ve suffered from in my leadership in church communications! What am I missing from this list?

>> Read more from Rich here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Oree McKenzie — 09/18/14 5:20 am

Thanks for posting.

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

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