Church Juice provides congregations with free resources, articles, and opportunities for training and consulting on church communications. Church Juice is a ministry of Back to God Ministries International, the media mission of the CRCNA.
The first quarter of 2018 is already behind us. That means the holiday season is officially over, Easter and spring break have passed, and now we’re getting into planning for the summer and future seasons of our church. Here are five things I think will help your church communication as you plan for the rest of 2018 and into the next several years.
In every piece of communication material you have, whether that’s online or on paper, find a way to add images. Put a face to the story. Add a graphic. This isn’t randomly picking something from your 1990s clipart collection. It’s finding relevant art to advance your story. Rely on more visuals and less on words in everything you do. There are quality (and free!) stock image resources available, but the best option is to use visuals people will connect to — meaning photos of real people and places in your church.
SIMPLIFY WHAT YOU'RE DOING
We tend to complicate communication. But the more cluttered we are, the less effective we’ll be. There are two great ways to simplify your communication streams. First, evaluate everything you’re doing. Do you really need it all? If there are ineffective things you do just because that’s the way it’s always been done — get rid of them. The second way to simplify is to say more with less. Condense your writing. Reduce the number of announcements you make Sunday mornings. Chop the number of items in the weekly email. It’s not easy to be simple, but it’s a lot more effective in reaching people.
COMMIT TO CONSISTENCY
While you may have multiple communication avenues, they don’t act independently. They need have the same look, feel and language. If you put everything next to each other, would it look like it’s coming from the same organization? Consistency can be one of the toughest things to achieve in a church, but reeling in rogue communications pieces and giving everything a consistent feel will make your church a better communicator.
HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF THE PLATFORMS YOU USE
No single platform or tool will save the day or reach everyone. We all know that, yet we’ll build up something, like launching a Facebook page or adding a feature to a website, to the point we think it will solve all our problems. Be realistic going in to anything. Facebook won’t reach everyone. A new feature or content stream isn’t going to make 100 percent of your congregation automatically plugged in to what you’re doing. Look at how everything you do works together and don’t put all your hope into one thing.
VIEW WHAT YOU'RE DOING AS DISCIPLESHIP
Every facet of ministry is discipling someone — sometimes that means the volunteer is being discipled. Other times that means that the whole ministry is “discipleship,” but it’s time we begin to view everything we do as a form of making disciples. Your job as communicator is no different. How can you build up disciples? What can you do better if you’re viewing ministry as discipleship?
I get it. There’s a lot going on. We can talk about strategy all day, but real change isn’t going to happen until we transform ideas into action. So, whether that’s something on this list, or something different that your church needs, commit to making those changes.
What are you doing to improve communications in 2018?
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