I work with churches on their communication strategies as much as I do generosity. I quickly realized working with churches that the church may have a great story to tell but often struggles to make that story clear, compelling and concise.
When you throw in all of the new ways to communicate the challenge gets bigger. Mix in the fact that most churches in America have at least two different generations making up most of their congregation and the majority have all four generations to consider; “Houston…..”
A couple of weeks ago I gave 5 tips to communicating generosity with the 4 generations. I encourage you to check it out. I wanted to take each tip and break it down to give a little more depth.
The church’s communication game plan must be multi-faceted.
This seems like a “duh” statement. However, I do not see most churches doing this well. If the message is worth communicating and it affects the entire congregation (mission focus, homecoming, capital campaign, change in vision/mission/direction of the church, small group expansion strategy, etc.) then the message must be clear, compelling, concise and consistent.
Let’s do a case study. The church leadership has decided the church will become more missional in their approach instead of attractional. This is a HUGE shift for a church because it affects EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY. How do you begin?
- Create collateral materials – written brochure/explantion, video from pastor explaining how this decision was made and why, letter to be distributed with the brochure (email letter and written letter), videos to explain missional vs attractional, video testimonies from other churches who have gone through the same process, printed time line (and webinar version) for how long the transition will take, printed/video/electronic explanation of how this transition will affect each individual (What will stay the same? What will change?)
- Communicate in person with the core leaders or stakeholders. (small group setting, written explanation, video) Use email and phone to ensure attendance at events.
- Communicate with ministry leaders & volunteers. (small group setting, written explanation, video) Use email and phone to ensure attendance at events.
- Mail brochure and letter from pastor. Post letter on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest two days later. Distribute info in worship.
- Invite the entire congregation to a series of “vision vignettes” or “mission moments” to give them an opportunity to hear in person (FROM THE LEAD PASTOR) what being a missional church looks like. (Use EVERY possible media vehicle available to get this word out and use a different vehicle each day for two weeks)
- Preach a 4-6 week series on “BEING MISSIONAL” and how a missional church today could look like the churches in Acts and why our church wants to look like that.
- Emails during each of the weeks of the sermon series including videos and testimonials of how being a missional church will help us serve our community the way we are called.
After all of this (8-20 weeks) you can THEN begin to implement the change from being attractional to missional.
Does this make you tired? If it doesn’t it probably makes you sigh a deep sigh at least. Communicating with a congregation is the biggest challenge leadership faces in the church; especially if you have multiple generations in your church.
Is your approach multi-faceted and written down? I would love to hear how your church communicates. I want to learn how to help churches communicate more effectively.
What is the one thing you would tell me to tell other church leaders about communicating effectively?