If you could help your church communications problem from your living room, would you do it?
A laptop computer, some free software programs, and 30 minutes a week are all you need to become part of the solution to one of your church’s problems: communications!
Church communications woes
Church consultants will tell you that church communications appear on every church’s self-assessment of weaknesses. 80% will claim this is one of their top 5 problems! Trouble crops up when people feel their church’s communications are unclear, uninformative, uninteresting, and ill-timed:
- They begin to speculate that their leaders are trying to hide things.
- They wonder if their leaders are incompetent.
- They feel like the church is constantly changing directions.
- They suspect they are being excluded from important discussions.
When these things happen – all due to ineffective church communications – it’s not long before people get riled about what they assume is going on.
Church communications: useless strategies
Churches are like people; they tend to get stuck in a rut. You’ll see this any time a church starts to discuss communications and look for solutions. The same failed ideas keep cropping up.
- Announcements – this fails because people “zone out” and because people only remember about 10% of what they hear.
- Bulletins – this strategy fails because they land in the back Bibles, the place church literature goes to die.
- Video before or after the service – How can this possibly work when people show up late and leave early?
We have become adept at screening out unsolicited information. Spam filters on our email, call blocking on our phones, DVRs that skip commercials, ad blockers on our web browsers, and quick hangup (polite, hopefully) on telemarketers.
So how do you break through to people?
Church communications: how you can help
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 communications (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 communications 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 (cost: $0.00).
- Set up a Twitter account for your church (cost: $0.00).
- Set up your own HootSuite account (cost: $0.00).
- Obtain a list of everyone who prefers email or text messages (cost: $0.00).
With these free services you can schedule all your church communications for the week in 15 to 20. Use the list of those who prefer email or text messages to create “groups” in your email and text message programs. That way people will receive the church’s communication in the channel of their choice!
Hint: many free email services (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo) let you send calendar appointments to others. Use this feature to send calendar appointments to you groups! When someone clicks on the appointment that’s attached to the email, it creates an item on their calendar. You’ve set the reminder for them!
Church communications workflow
So, here’s the workflow you’ll use to distribute information to church members:
- The church emails you the items they want communicated to the congregation.
- You distribute that information through your system: email those who prefer email, text messages to like texts. Schedule “tweets” and Facebook posts to ‘drop’ at various times throughout the week. Be sure to repeat those “tweets” often during the week so people are more likely to see them.
- If you get permission, post to your church website and Facebook page. Then, send reminders, telling them to check the new postings.
This isn’t a panacea, but it’s a great start on a solution.
It will require a little bit of set up time for you. The church office, the pastor, and staff will need to devote quite a bit of effort to train the congregation about these new church communication channels – and they’ll have to repeat it several times.
And there’s the unfortunate reality that people will ignore information and then complain that they weren’t told! But if you stay faithful to that thirty minute per week commitment, in time people will be trained – and they’ll learn how to get church communications through their favorite channels.