Recently, a communication friend of mine was hired by a church.
The Pastor and I ran into each other a couple days after their new hire had started, and he asked "Mark, how do I effectively lead this communication leader?".
Instantly, I knew my friend was working for a great boss. What a great question!
I shared with him some personal things I knew about my friend but then realized there are 5 general ways for a Senior Pastor to lead their communication employee
1. Share your heart and vision.
Some of the nicest people I've met and worked with are church communicators. They passionately want to promote church ministries—a Senior Pastor often feels alienated in the leadership of their church.
Talking with a communication leader is a great time to let down your guard and share what you're passionate about in ministry.
I would even encourage you to dream with your Communication Leader. Together you can accomplish more.
2. Communicate the "win".
With the complexity of many communication channels, there are many balls needing to be juggled. Your communicator will enjoy accomplishing tasks but ultimately needs to manage your greater church communication strategy too.
Rather than letting them retreat into a technician's corner, share the overall "win" for their role. Most Church Comms love the challenge if they feel part of it. If you don't clearly know what the win is, work together to write it down. It'll help when you have their next job review, and it'll help the communicator reach for a common goal and not be overcome with the burden of keeping up with tasks.
3. Ask their opinion and advice.
Every Pastor needs a sounding board for creative ideas. They also need a trusted person to offer an honest opinion of what communication works and what doesn't. Start asking your communicator to assess the church services, the message, and the effectiveness of your ministries; they'll feel better aligned with the quality expectation and will work harder to achieve it. A good communicator who's listened to will want to intently listen to you.
4. Encourage them.
A creative person often wonders if they should share their most creative thoughts and risk judgment from their co-ministers. Instead, they often remain quiet and quietly ponder why everything remains the same. Creativity is lacking in our current "copy everyone else" ministry world.
You want to nurture creative thinking!
Do that by practicing words of affirmation and encouragement. Sure, every creative idea doesn't prove to be perfect, but encouraging openness for lots of ideas will always unearth nuggets of genius.
5. Let them sit at your table.
To raise up leaders, you need to allow them to watch you lead while including them in the decision-making process. Your leadership table should nurture effective leaders.
It may start with them not having much input, but over time, they'll become a valuable asset, a sounding board, and an effective leader who'll move your teams forward and help share the decision burden of your ministry. Want the full value of your Communicator?
It'll only be fully realized when they're respected as a ministry leader. Plus you'll get more work from them!
Mark MacDonald is a Bible Teacher, speaker, best-selling author of Be Known For Something, and communication strategist for BeKnownForSomething.com. He empowers churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, and social media. His book is available at BeKnownBook.com and amazon.com.