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Should Someone Oversee Your Church Communications

Should Someone Oversee Your Church Communications

As a church leader, you know… good communications don’t just happen.

It takes time, commitment and intentionality to connect with your audience.

Each week you spend hours planning what you will say and how you will connect people to God’s word.

Our visual communications and written communications require the same type of intentionality.

Your church needs someone who can put focused attention into these communications.

Someone who can help:

1) Collect Information

in a timely fashion so things get communicated early and often

2) Function as Quality Control

making sure your promotions meet the goals and expectations your church has agreed on

3) Schedule Communications

so your church isn’t inundated one week and silent the next

Who that should be will vary.

When possible, I would encourage it to be a staff member, because they will know about upcoming ministry events that need promoting. If a staff member is not an option, it should be a high level, committed volunteer.

 

Either way, the person who oversees your church communications needs the following characteristics:

  • Has report with the staff and can get necessary details from them
  • Highly organized
  • Long term view of the church ministry
  • Good with people
  • Articulate
  • Has an eye for detail
  • Computer savvy
  • Can create (or edit) designs to meet church goals and expectation

Have a Church Communication Question You Would Like Answered?

How to Reach the Right Audience with Your Communciations

How to Reach the Right Audience with Your Communciations

The majority of ministries your church offers don’t apply to everyone present on a Sunday morning.

So what is the easiest way to make sure we communicate with the right audience every time?

3 Questions to Help you Reach the Right Audience

1) Who are you trying to reach?

List all the attributes that describe who you want to reach with this communication. Include items like: age, demographics, sex, groups they are associate with, etc.

2) Where do they spend time?

List where they spend time time on a regular basis. Think about things like physical locations as well as online.

3) How do they communicate?

List out the ways they use both to communicate and to receive communications.

Older congregation members get information primarily through newspapers, weekly bulletins, personal invitation, phone calls.

Younger generations gets information through email, text, social media, web.

Putting info about a youth event in the bulletin is only going to be seen by a couple teens, but sending details out through social media and text will get a high response.

At the same time, emailing your older congregation and expecting a high response rate isn’t going to work. Sure they might have email, but it’s not their preferred communication platform.

Don’t waste your time and resources creating promotions that will be ignored. Look over the lists you have and identify the areas you will focus on to reach that audience.

When in doubt,  remember to deliver communication to your audience, where they spend time, using channels they already use.

Have a Church Communication Question You Would Like Answered?

How to Communicate with Your Church Without Being Annoying

How to Communicate with Your Church Without Being Annoying

Your church and community live busy lives, with limited time and attention spans.

It isn’t that they don’t want to care about what the church has planned, they are too busy to know they need to.

So it’s our responsibility to let them know what is important in the life of our church and why.

The challenge of course is doing it in a way that isn’t annoying.

Here are 3 steps to communicating with your church without being annoying

1) Say less

I’m not talking about saying less about the gospel. I’m talking about the volume of information we throw at people each week.

We spend all week thinking about our ministry plans, but our congregation and guest haven’t. Sunday morning is often the only time they hear about what we offer.

When we throw everything at them at once, nothing sticks. A typical listener can only take in so much information before they shut down and stop listening.

Solution:

Be intentional about what we share.

Pick the top 3-4 things in the life of your church and share about them well. This is best done with a calendar so you aren’t caught off guard as events approach.

A good rule is… a ministry opportunity needs to relate to 50% of those in attendance for you to share about it. If it doesn’t, you should find ways to share with just the people who need to hear it.

Example:

Women’s Retreat – relates to 50%+ of Sunday morning attenders = Share

Men’s Woodworking Class – doesn’t relate to 50%+ of Sunday morning attenders = Find other ways to share with interested people

2) Use language they understand

I’ve been going to a local hamburger place for 20+ years, but I recently learned they have a “secret menu.”

It includes creative ways you can customize your meal to meet your tastes.

Why didn’t I know about it?

Because they haven’t printed the information on the menu board. You have to know what to ask for or they will serve it like they always have.

Unfortunately, we treat our church guests much the same. Assuming they have context and understanding about our church that they don’t have.

We announce events in ways insiders understand but guests don’t…

Join us for Bible Study on Wednesday in the MPR.

Guests need to know more.

Solution:

Answer the questions guests would be asking

  • Who is this event for for?
  • What time is it occuring?
  • What is the full name of the location?
  • Where would I find this room on campus?
  • Can my kids come too?

Example:

Life can be confusing! Join our adult Bible study as we talk through practical ways to gain wisdom and understanding. Wednesdays, 7pm, Main Office Lobby. Child-care is available by reservation.

3) Share details with heart

Each week, guests come to church and we fill them in on all the “exciting ways to get involved.”

We do it, because we know the difference it will make in their lives. We understand the power of the Gospel to change a life.

But our listeners don’t understand it. They approach every opportunity, subconsciously or not, with a mental question…

“What’s in it for me?”

Our guests are hungry for the solutions God offers. But unless we show, and tell, them why a ministry or event is important they won’t even consider it.

Solution:

Highlight the benefit of attending and participating.

Go beyond the details, presenting examples of life change in your ministry. Tell stories from previous attenders, congregation members, your community. Share the way God has used the ministry in the past and the difference it can make for those in similar situations.

 


 

These 3 steps come down to one thing that will make the difference between communications that annoy or connect.

Say Less + With Greater Clarity + In Ways That Connect With People

 
Do it consistently and you will see growth in your congregation.
 
Neglect it and you will struggle to connect and retain new people.

Have a Church Communication Question You Would Like Answered?

Best Practices for Church Postcard Mailings

Best Practices for Church Postcard Mailings

In recent years, postcards and other church direct mail campaigns have declined in popularity.

There is still a place for them, when approached strategically…

When you think about a postcard or any church direct mail campaign, you have to start with strategy first, then delivery.

Strategy for a Mailer

1) Determine your goals / purpose

  • what are we trying to say
  • what action do we want them to take
  • what is the point of this print piece

2) Determine your audience

  • who are you trying to reach with this
  • what type of printed items do they respond to

3) Design a Card that speaks to your audience and meets your goals

  • does it look like something they would expect to see
  • does it answer the questions they might have
  • does it give a clear “next step” you want them to take
  • is there a phone number, email or web address to use for questions

4) Pick a Delivery Method

  • In-House Mailing – more than 200 units qualify for bulk mail, can send at reduced cost
  • Every Door Direct Mailing (EDDM) – every door direct mailing through postal service, target homes within a designated delivery area
  • Mail House – submit your postcard and they help you set the mailing up for delivery, if you have a mailing list they can address the cards or you can rent a list from them to target your delivery area and send directly to your community

Don’t dismiss the use of a Mail House. We found with a larger mailing that often the amount saved in postage between EDDM and Mail House covered the majority of the Mail House costs

Delivering Your Mailer

1) Print the Postcard

Before you send your mailer out, make sure you meet the requirements of your delivery method (paper type, paper weight, type of gloss on the paper, etc)

2) Mail the Card

USPS doesn’t let you invoice mailing. Make sure you have money in your Postal service account to cover an in-house mailing, or have a check ready to pay for the EDDM or Mail House.

3) Track your results

A strategy is repeatable and trackable. Make sure you count the following in connection to your mailing:

  • phone calls
  • emails
  • website visits

Make note of any questions you receive so you know what you can adjust for your next mailing

 

Case Study

Since my initial posting of this I found a great case study about the concept of church direct mail campaigns.

Kenny Jahng from butler.church interviewed Peter Gowesky, pastor of Hope City Church in Sarasota, Florida about this very topic.

Top Communication Resources for the Church

Top Communication Resources for the Church

Looking for a list of communication resources created especially for the church?

You’ve come to the right spot. Here’s my growing list of…

Top Church Communication Resources and Thought Leaders

Church Communication Thought Leaders

Center for Church Communications – A group of communicators helping local churches communicate better with our various projects

Church Marketing Sucks – The site to frustrate, educate and motivate the church to communicate, with uncompromising clarity, the truth of Jesus Christ

The Creative Pastor – Kendall Conner serves as the Creative Pastor at Piedmont Chapel in Greensboro, NC. He is a graphic designer, video editor, and all-around media geek, but above all enjoys seeing lives changed.

Pro Church Tools – Brady Shearer knows what it’s like to learn media from scratch. He uses his experience to teach others to do the same.

Church Hacks – Tips and Ideas for getting ministry done

Church Juice – Free resources to help churches communicate better. No matter the medium, it’s time to be intentional about reaching your congregation and community.

Church Train – Church Communication Training, Equipping churches, small and large, with the tools and skills to communicate effectively with those around them.

That Church Conference – Where church communications practitioners share & collaborate online.

ChurchTechToday  – Technology for Today’s Church. A tech blog focused on technology solutions to help you reach your community.

Steve Fogg  – Graphic Designer, a Creative Director, a Director and Church Communications guy passionate about sharing what he knows about branding, communications, marketing and all things digital.

Kenny Jahng – Practically Speaking. Interviews, Resources and Content about the strategy and mission behind your church communications.

Kim Meyer – Simplifying the art of effective communications… Less Chaos, Less Noise.

Phil Bowdle – Conversations on communications and the creative church

 

Church Communication Facebook Groups

Church Communications Group – closed group, solid community of active members who answer questions, direct users to other resources

Church Marketing Ideas – Adam is a church leader and is connecting people to each other and providing blog posts on church comm

Church Communications Strategies – closed group, sharing content and advice

Visual Church Media – Sponsored by church motion graphics, education, posts, examples and more

 

Church Communication Podcasts

Church Marketing Podcast – Hosted by Dave Shrein, great archive of communication related content

ProChurchTools Podcast – Covering church leadership, communication, video, design and more

 

Church Communication Conferences

That Church Conference – Practical digital communications training for churches

Salt Conference Nashville – A movement of people desperate to rebuild the creative walls of the Church, not for the sake of marketing, but the sake of engaging people with the contagious Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Simply Communicate Conference – A conference helping churches communicate what matters

Flow Creative Conference – An online creative conference helping churches connect people with God through creative arts.

3 C’s of Communicating Effectively with Your Church

3 C’s of Communicating Effectively with Your Church

Let’s face it. We live busy lives!

Counseling sessions, board meetings, planning and sermon prep, become the urgent. Leaving little time to communicate the importance of upcoming ministry events.

The success of ministry plans often riding on a single, rushed announcement with the hope people will respond. In the rush, we miss key details, and leave people with unanswered questions.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In this episode of #AskRADIdeas I answer:

What is the best way to communicate effectively?

The secret to effective church promotions is not saying more, but saying less with greater clarity.

When we tell our church or ministry story in a clear, concise and compelling way, people engage. Not only do they engage, but they listen, understand and respond.

This doesn’t happen by accident. You might stumble into it a few times. But the only way to see long term consistent response is with a plan.

Good plans have action steps, a checklist on “steroids” so to speak. I’ve followed a rough one for years but never documented it until recently. I call it the 3 C’s of Communication and I want to share the first one with you.

1) Convey the Details

As simple as it sounds, beginning with a written list of all the details you need to share is huge.

  • What is the event
  • How do we describe it
  • Who is it for
  • Where is it held
  • How do people participate
  • Where do they register
  • Is there a cost
  • Where do people get more information
  • Who is the contact

The temptation is to answer the questions in your head or not bother at all. I encourage you to take the time to write it out and go into as much detail as you need for each step.

When you do, you will often reveal details you’ve forgotten or questions the listener will have. This will help you clarify your message and address potential questions when sharing with your church.

It will also serve as a written reminder of your goals, and a means to share the information with other leaders and volunteers.

Conveying the Details is the first step to consistent success.

2) Connect the Heart

Throughout the New Testament we see Jesus connect with the heart of his listeners. Whether it was one on one, or in a large group he had an amazing ability to get people to listen and respond.

Jesus knew that when a person connects emotionally to what we share they listen differently. Their hearts are open to respond and lasting life change is possible.

With this as our goal, the second part of The 3 C’s of Communication is how to Connect the Heart of your listener to the story you have to tell.

Jesus provided a simple but powerful model for us to use:

• Tell a Story

Jesus was never without a story, and when He spoke people listened. They were short, to the point, and often provided space for dialogue and response.

When you share, find a personal experience, life event or recent news to reinforce the information. Details are necessary, but they seldom are the part people walk away and remember. A story can spark the brain to remember your point long into the future.

• Use Illustrations

Jesus used the things around him as a foundation for what he shared. Landscape, agriculture, economics, if it could point people to God he tied it in. They helped him visually tell a story people could relate to, so they would remember the principle and share it themselves.

As you think of illustrations, consider the community you’re in. What type of imagery will connect with your audience? What type of response will it convey?

Then consider how you might tell it. Verbal story, testimony, interview, video or news clip. It doesn’t have to be flashy, it just has to connect.

• Show Examples of Life Change

Despite Jesus’ requests for people to not share who had helped them, they did. They left to tell friends, relatives and entire communities about how Jesus had changed them.

Why the disobedience? Because a life changed can seldom keep quiet about the difference that was made.

Look for ways to celebrate the changed lives in your midst. Tell the stories, interview the families, share how the Gospel has changed them. It will connect your church to the humanity in others and bring hope to their own situations.

I encourage you to take these “Lessons from Jesus” and find ways to Connect the Heart. As you do, you will see your church grasp the Gospel in fresh ways and respond like never before.

3) Creatively Deliver

The reality is, communicating with your church doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does involve looking for solutions in creative ways. If it seems overwhelming I understand, you are not alone in that feeling.

In Exodus 4:2 God asks Moses, “what’s that in your hand?” and Moses replies he has a staff. Through every objection and question Moses raises, God shows how He has provided the tools needed to accomplish the task.

My question for you is, what’s in your hand? What tools has God already provided and you’ve overlooked until now?

  • A technical institute student who needs web design experience
  • An english teacher who could write an articulate email
  • A college student who lives and breathes social media
  • A high school student with a GoPro who loves to shoot and edit video
  • A graphic designer with a heart for ministry who can create a flyer for you

Take a few minutes and make a list of what God has placed in your hands to help you communicate more effectively. Spend time developing those relationships and you will be poised to help others connect in deeper ways.