Solve church communication problems in 30 minutes a week
If you could help your church and your pastor achieve a major breakthrough while sitting on the couch watching the latest episode of Little Big Shots, would you do it?
With your laptop and a couple of free software programs you can help solve one of your pastor’s most difficult challenges: communication.
Communication is a problem in all churches!
Ask any church consultant. They will tell you that for every 100 churches they have assessed, 100 of them claim that “lack of communication” is one of their top five weaknesses. Eighty percent of them say communication is one of their top three problems. There are a variety of reasons why this remains such a nettlesome problem, but the ugly consequences are pretty straightforward:
- People think their leaders are trying to hide things.
- People think their leaders are incompetent.
- People think their leaders are constantly changing directions.
- People think they’re being excluded from important discussions.
- People start getting riled up about what they assume is going on.
One of the major reasons why churches are lousy at communication is because they don’t understand the crucial difference between promotion and communication. Josh Burns taps into this vital distinction.
Promotion simply means that you’re trying to get more exposure for a specific event or ministry in hopes that people will participate…. Communication… means that you’re attempting to impart or transmit an idea, emotion or feeling.
In a moment I’ll suggest ways you can help, but first we need to focus on strategies that fail 90-plus percent of the time.
Communication strategies that fail
You could sit in on any church’s discussion about how to solve the communications problem, and you’ll hear the same failed ideas being proposed time and again.
- Platform announcements - this strategy fails because people “zone out”.
- Prominent placement in the bulletin - this strategy fails because people tuck the bulletin in the back of their Bibles and promptly forget them.
- PowerPoint (or video) before or after the service - this fails because people show up late and leave when the closing song is finished.
People have become adept at screening out most of the unsolicited information that come their way. Furthermore, people’s communication preferences change from generation to generation. On top of that you have to account for middle-aged forgetfulness!
Help solve your church’s communication problem
You can help your pastor and church gain a major win. It will take about 30 minutes a week, but it will take a bit more than that to set things up. Once your system is up, you can run it from your living room sofa with a laptop or a tablet computer.
Then you’ll be managing church communication (or be part of a team if you’re in a larger church) so people get the right information at the right time. This frees the pastor and others up on the platform to concentrate the efforts on promotion.
Set up your communication system
It’ll take an hour or so to get things set up. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Set up a Facebook Page for your church.
- Set up a Twitter account for your church.
- Set up your own Buffer or HootSuite account.
- Ask for a list of everyone who prefers email.
- Ask for a list of everyone who prefers text messages.
Buffer and HootSuite let you schedule Facebook and Twitter posts in advance. With these free services (they do have paid accounts for businesses) you can schedule all your posts for the week in 10 or 15 minutes. These services will post information when and where you want.
Once you get the list of those who prefer email or text messages, you create a “Group” In your email program and your text message program. That way people will receive the church’s communication in the channel of their choice!
Hint: You can use most email services (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo) to send “calendar items.” When people click on the attached calendar item it gets posted to their calendar with the “reminders” you set for them!
Your communication workflow
So, here’s the workflow you’ll use to distribute information to church members:
- The church office sends you an email with the items they want communicated to the congregation.
- You distribute that answer through your system: emails to those who prefer email and text messages to those who prefer that medium. You’ll also schedule “Tweets” and Facebook Posts that will ‘drop’ at various times throughout the week.
- If the website administrator gives you permission, you can also post the information on your church website and send out reminders to everyone, informing them that there’s “new news” for them to check.
This isn’t a cure-all. People are going to ignore information that doesn’t strike them as relevant at the moment. But if you keep pushing it toward them in emails, text messages, Tweets and Facebook posts, it will get through to more people that whatever you’re doing now.
That way, your pastor is freed from the endless torrent of requests to make yet another platform announcement. Now the staff is freed up to promote the most important events!
You get to be part of the solution, without heavy lifting, without
Josh Burns, Implementing A Church Communications Plan, LifeWay Church Tech & Media, http://www.lifeway.com/churchtech/2015/06/02/implementing-a-church-communications-plan/ ↩
Remember: communication (as I’m using the term here) is making sure that people have timely access to information, but promotion is creating the desire and intent to take action. ↩
An experienced ministry leader, writer and educator, Bud Brown is co-founder of Turnaround Pastors and co-author of the ground-breaking Pastor Unique: Becoming A Turnaround Leader. He is a change leader in many venues — small rural, upscale suburban and mega-sized churches. He brings special expertise to change leadership in the local church, mentoring pastors to become revitalization leaders, training churches how to find and recruit the best talent, and training leadership teams how to achieve their shared goals. Bud also trains pastors in conferences, workshops and coaching sessions.
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