Let's be clear, employment transitions are complicated and have the potential for concern. Pastors, from your vantage you want to protect yourself and establish a church communication team that will encourage ministry and improve systems to inform your congregation while you engage your community. It sounds perfect.
The Church Communicator (Comm) should want the same goals but they're often concerned with ministry culture, leadership, the ability to accomplish your goals within ministry budgets, and how creative they can be using a team that juggles a lot of requests. They'll have questions.
Here are 5 great questions to anticipate from a quality Church Communicator. I even suggest guidance to your answers!
1. Will I sit at the Leadership Table? Who will I report to?
Communication weaves through every aspect of church ministry. A good communicator respects leadership discussions and should be allowed to have input and caution there. At the table, they'll discover culture, leadership voice, and surprise events that aren't available elsewhere. Knowing who they report to gives a sense to how senior their position is perceived. The Lead Pastor makes most decisions in the church; therefore. eliminate layers between the Comm and the Pastor.
2. Who will be on the Comm team full-time?
Is there a volunteer team established? It's almost impossible to do the communication expectations of a busy church by one person. They will need help. Establish who's in place as early as possible.
This creates a foundation of expectations. Many Comms get overwhelmed quickly especially in the transitional time. They need help.
3. What's the biggest issue you'd like me to solve my first year?
Be honest. Everyone hires to solve an issue. Start a dialogue about this concern; clearly state your expectation of the "win".
4. Will I have a clearly defined budget to direct as needed?
As important as how many people are on the Comm team, they need a budget to accomplish expectations. Don't surprise them with a low number after they're on staff. Even worse? Require them to ask for every purchase.
5. Do you mind me calling a recent hire?
Ministry culture and transitional environment is usually perceived differently by leadership. The last hire will answer questions closer to the truth. You don't want to hire someone who won't be happy at your church. Your Comm doesn't want to be blindsided by odd culture either. Better yet? Let them transparently talk with their future team during the hiring process. Both sides will win from this and you'll look like a hero if you suggest it.
Final thoughts: Please put everything in writing. It'll give you something to hold your Comm accountable to and give them something to refer to for expectations. Neither want a bait and switch; so be upfront and honest. This is the start of a special ministry relationship. Pray for the transition