Communicating clearly to your congregation is essential and communicating well to the community can reap great benefits for your church. As communicators, we understand the importance of good, quality, communication skills and plans. We spend a lot of our time looking at best practices, putting together plans and procedures, and attempting to execute all of that research. But sometimes execution is the hardest part. Sometimes, what we think is vital to the health and growth of the church is undervalued by the senior leadership. Why is that?
Church leaders have a different mentality than church communicators. Rightfully so. Often, they are concerned with the best way to shepherd the flock and grow mature believers and disciples of Jesus. Often, ministry leaders and pastors overlook the importance of communication and marketing — not on purpose, but because their experience and expertise is focused on other fronts.
As a church communicator — whether you’re a volunteer, part-time staff, or a staff member juggling 4 different roles — convincing leadership of the importance of quality communication in the church can be burdensome. But it doesn’t need to be.
INVITE LEADERS IN
Encourage the leadership of your church to engage in the communication planning process for your church. Ask questions and find out what their perspectives are. What is the vision for the church, and how can you better communicate that vision? What communication hurdles do they think exist? What do they see as effective communication, and how can the church get better at that? Inviting leadership to be invested in the process creates ownership and buy-in. Working as a team will be better long-term both for your communication efforts, as well as the health of the church. It also makes sure that your communication plan is holistic — including all aspects of communication from the Sunday message, to the worship team, to the bulletins, slides, social media, and other avenues. Teamwork isn’t always the easiest route, but when it comes to communication, teamwork is the right way to think about it. You want to mutually support one another, not work as silos or islands.
Sometimes the pastor or another leader at your church may be more apprehensive about “new” avenues of communication. They may think that the old way is “good enough,” or that there is no reason to fix the way things have always been done. Inviting these staff members to join the team and be involved in the greater conversation is still a wise move. While you may face more push-back, you will also get to know what their specific reservations are. Why are they against change? What wisdom can their perspective bring to the table? The more you know, the better you can help identify deeper issues and solve problems that lead to better communication.
Rather than thinking about communication, marketing, and design work as “us” against “them,” start to think about your work as a symbiotic relationship; mutually beneficial. You want to help the leadership get their message out, and they need you to do that effectively — even though they may not realize that sometimes. We’re all one body, one team, with one goal. So let’s make sure that we are breaking down hurdles as often as possible.
Have you invited the leadership to be invested in the communication plan? How has that impacted communications?
Church Juice is a ministry of the CRCNA, focused on helping congregations energize their marketing and communications. For more from Church Juice, and to subscribe for the latest, click here.