3 Myths of Church Communication that Get Everyone

Church communication is a popular topic in the church world. But the expectations of how to fix communication, is often overinflated. It’s not a cure all. In fact, effective communication takes time as the correct messages are produced consistently. Producing the right messages takes talent and skill especially when consistency is required.

Here are 3 church communication myths that need to be understood:

  1. A bad event doesn’t benefit from effective communication. Your congregation knows hype and has reasonable expectations for your church events. Saying “this is a must-attend ministry opportunity” over and over does not increase attendance — unless there’s validity to the assertion.  Every event in your church can’t be “the best thing ever”. Truth: Communication needs to state the benefit of attending or participating along with pertinent details (that requires someone to decide what the value is for attendance). Communication cannot “fix” a bad event or poor attendance. Be sure to work on the quality of your ministries before communicating them. Will that fix everything instantly? Not if your congregation or community has endured years of lackluster events. It’ll take time for positive word-of-mouth to support the communication claims.
  2. The more you say, the more important it’ll feel. Many leaders feel that “if we talk multiple times about something” it will feel like everyone should feel the importance of it. Or, if we tell lots of details and extend the promotion to include “everything” about the event, more people will get a sense of urgency. The opposite is often the case. Truth: People don’t have time to listen to redundancy or read long paragraphs. What we’re learned from research? People are quick to half-listen when they feel you get too detailed or sense redundancy. In print? They tend to scan for details. Ultimately, people want to know “what’s in it for me”. So, ensure the benefit is compelling and simple, and you’ll capture the attention and attendance you seek. And remember that most people don’t want ALL the details during the promotion — instead, send them to your website for additional details (if they want them).
  3. All stories communicate effectively. We hear regularly that churches must tell stories. This isn’t always the case — some stories shouldn’t be told. And the way they’re told is just as important. In fact, many stories hurt the communication rather than help it. Truth: Ensure your story is edited to the shortest length possible to keep the point of it. Make sure there’s a clear ending and reasonable point that can be gleaned be everyone listening. Make sure the hero of the story is not you or the church leadership! It’s always “them” — and make sure the point of the story can be quickly applied to the congregation that’s listening or reading. Other bonuses? Think about good storytelling formula: have a clear villain (that wants the hero to fail), a clear hero with goals to achieve, a guide that helps take them on a journey. And the end? A twist or unexpected outcomes alway work effectively and capture the attention of the listener/reader. Just remember the attention span of Americans today is short. Very short. So edit (for all of your communication)!

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Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald is a Bible Teacher, speaker, best-selling author of Be Known For Something, and communication strategist for BeKnownForSomething.com and the Florida Baptist Convention. He empowers churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, and social media. His book is available at BeKnownBook.com and amazon.com.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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