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Church communications
Use your emails to reinforce what you tell your team. It keeps your communication clear.

Church Communications: From Technology Usage to Conflict Management

In terms of church communication, above all, be clear. Be articulate. I believe Andy Stanley said it best, when he wrote, “Leaders don’t have to be right all the time. They just have to be clear.”

A broad topic, church communications can mean many things in quite a few contexts.

Root your vision in something bigger than you, then plainly articulate it to the team.

For the purposes of this piece, I will try to create a few wading pools of information, without getting into the deep end of any of them. My prayer is by spending some relaxing moments in a few informational hot tubs, you’ll want to do laps in the pool which impacts you and your ministry the most.

Full disclosure: You’ve caught me at a great time! After a very traumatic end to my last ministry position – don’t let anybody convince you that church folks are not capable of the same lack of integrity that can otherwise be found in the world – I have taken on a new position as a part time contemporary worship leader. I know no one at this church, except the senior pastor and another individual. I interviewed a month ago. My communication at this stage of my new ministry position is extremely critical, crucial and clear.

Here are a few things I am currently doing to resource my church communications.

Write the Vision – Make It Plain

If you are a faith-based organization or just a regular ol' department selling widgets, communicate where you are going.

Make sure everyone in the organization knows:

  • where you’re taking them as the leader
  • why we’re going there
  • how you’re gonna get there
  • how getting there serves the mission, makes the team better

Plainly communicate why they hired you, how you’re going to justify that hiring, and why hiring you or putting you in the leadership position is a great idea for us all. Be confident, not arrogant. People of faith draw close to the Word. Undergird your leadership with Him.

Why are we retooling our praise team? Because our job is to be John the Baptist: point people toward The One that is soon to come. Why are we changing the way we do evangelism? Because the mission of every church of Jesus Christ is The Great Commission.

Root your vision in something bigger than you, then plainly articulate it to the team.

Use the New

Admittedly, this doesn’t always apply; it only works if you are new to a position, new to a church, new to leadership. There’s a saying in the south: sometimes, you don’t know crazy. I’m not suggesting crazy. What I am suggesting is use your newness to your advantage. I’m also not talking about manipulation. What I am saying is don’t be so quick to ask, ”How does (fill in the blank) usually happen?” They hired you to be the new thing. Be the new thing!

We have not, because we ask not. Ask! It doesn’t matter that they don’t usually print flyers in the bulletins – ask. It doesn’t matter that they don’t usually rehearse on Saturday mornings – ask. It doesn’t matter if the praise usually does two songs but you want three – do it.

Isaiah talks about doing a new thing; God placed you in that position to perform the new. Leaders instigate the new; managers maintain the old. Decide right away if you’re a manager or a leader. If you don’t know, you’re a manager. Leaders lead.

Technology

Briefly, I’ll go over some ideas, resources and tips that have served me very well. Again, this is the wading pool; another conversation can include us getting in the deep end, but that’s not this conversation.

Email

When I’m doing ministry work, my emails are a police report: who, what, where, when and how. Short and to the point, I never write an email longer than two paragraphs or more than 10 sentences. For example:

Hello Team,

Great great job this morning for worship. I thought we served the mission very well. It is an honor to serve such talented, funny, worshipful people! Can’t wait for next Sunday!

Please check PCO for our next rehearsal and music links. Contact me with any questions or issues and please respond to service invites asap. Each week, we’ll have a little small group moment to bind us together, so please be on time. Practice the music at home, we rehearse together.

God Bless,

In this example, I use my email to point out several things I need my team to understand and embrace:

  • Great Job – encourage the team, let them know they’re on the right track or missed the mark
  • Mission – reference the mission so often, everyone on your team knows what the mission is. Success can then be measured on the execution of this mission
  • Can’t Wait – the team is serving in a week reminds them of the next event
  • PCO – Planning Center Online is the tool that we use to resource the team to be successful
  • Contact me/Respond – they need to do something to be successful and to resource themselves
  • Each Week – lets them know the rehearsal schedule or at least you’ll be in contact with them on a regular basis
  • Practice – again, they need to do something to be successful

Use your emails to reinforce what you tell your team. It keeps your communication clear.

Text

Most people respond to texts quicker than email. So, send an email, but also text when appropriate.

Keep it simple, and straight to the point.

I make a habit not to keep any woman’s number in my phone, if I don’t absolutely have to, so assume as you should with email, that any text you send will be read by everyone in the entire world. Don’t make a joke, send a strange emoji or picture that could be taken the wrong way.

Remember, some members of your team are married to unbelievers or are in unhappy romantic relationships; you don’t want to give any impression that your interest in them is anything other than the mission.

Social Media

Make sure your social media accounts do not distract from your ministry/occupational mission. If you are a pastor, I wouldn’t be posting content about how hot JLo looked in a sex scene from the movie you just saw. It’s an unnecessary distraction – let alone whether you should be watching the movie in the first place.

I also don’t suggest you communicating ‘official’ business via social media – unless your team has a Twitter or Facebook page, for example.

You teach people how to communicate with you.

I wouldn’t email some, text others, then Facebook message others. You’re bound to make a mistake and forget to inform everyone with the same message. Decide on a medium, and stick with that.

Conflict Management 101

If you cannot express yourself fully and completely inside of a 10-sentence email, don’t write it at all. That is a phone call, not a text. Don’t apologize in a text if it’s a major upset; call the person right away. If it’s a major issue, it deserves major attention and that’s usually face-to-face.

Find someone you can confide in for advice but, generally speaking, do not ever tell anyone about the argument you’re currently in. Your team needs to know you are trustworthy. You want them to be honest with you. They can’t do that, if you’re constantly talking to them about other people. Be the person you’d want to go to, when you have an issue.

Fight with your superiors in private, but demonstrate being on the same page for your team. Do not, under any circumstances, give your team a directive – while at the same time telling them how the idea is stupid anyway, but our boss is making us do it. Instead of making your boss look bad, it actually makes you look pathetic. Argue with your boss, but make sure your people know you are in line with authority.

This just scratches the surface with church communication, but above all, be clear. Be articulate. I believe Andy Stanley said it best, when he wrote, “Leaders don’t have to be right all the time. They just have to be clear.”

Amen.

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