Three Church Communication Mistakes to Avoid

Jesus shared the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew and Luke) because we need to weigh the cost of what we’re building and start with the proper foundation.

The church today is scrambling to replicate communications from other churches. They see them spend money on something interesting, so they think they should do it too. Sometimes that works, however, if the proper foundation isn’t present, the components you’re building prove to be costly.

Here are 3 costly mistakes many churches are making in the communication department:

1. Not building an audience. I was recently lamenting the amount of political TV commercials and calculating how much each network must profit from political funds. But the opportunity to air the commercials (and make a gazillion dollars) wouldn’t be present if they didn’t build an audience before the political season. If they didn’t have the people, the campaigns wouldn’t choose them for their communications. The lesson? Build an audience for your church everyday so that when you have a particularly important message to relay, you’ll have them. SOLUTION: Pinpoint your audience, their needs and goals, and deliver them. Ensure all your communication vehicles are consistently needed, and promote them so you have as many followers as possible. On social media, try to entertain/influence/educate your audience in such a way that they want to share their experience with others on their wall.

2. Not establishing a communication thread. Your ministries need a unifier. Since everyone wants to feel unique and different, leadership wants to try new things and standout above those around them. It becomes a competition between ministry groups to see who can stand out more. The outcome? Often ministry silos start to destroy the foundation of your local church. Everyone becomes known for their own brand rather than a consistent communication thread that unites your church. SOLUTION: Unify the church messaging around one benefit or goal and you’ll save money because the message reaches and resonates farther. It’ll also give you a foundation for tiering your messaging and will allow you to be known for something in your community (so you can build a bigger audience).

3. Thinking an App will solve your Issues. “All the cool churches have apps, so we need one too”. We hear this regularly. But the truth? It’ll add another tool to maintain, another communication message to push (please download our app), and it’ll be a constant struggle to get your congregation to engage with it regularly (most apps are only used once and then stored in a folder to never be used again). What happens? You’ve spent a lot of money on a tool that simply replicates what your website should be doing. SOLUTION: Ensure your church has a trusted, responsive (mobile ready) website instead of an app. Everyone regularly uses websites to locate information on their built-in browser, so why struggle getting them to adopt another tool when your URL (that they already know) can deliver almost everything that they need? Geofencing and push notifications are perhaps the only reasons to have an app. But you’ll still need a solid website as a foundation, so spend the money on perfecting an amazing web experience before ever spending money on an app. Usually a good website is all you need.

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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 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 and

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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