Church Communication is a very complex, ever-changing ministry (note I didn’t say support role) that requires constant attention, juggling, and fixing. Here are 3 failures that many churches are allowing to rob successes from their ministries:
1. Making communication about you.
Effective communication rises and falls on how well you know your audience AND how well you make your content relevant to them. Many churches believe communication is simply promoting what they’re doing. This will usually fail. Instead, make your audience the hero of every story, every article, every sermon, every promotion. Let them see THEM and not perceive your communication is self-serving.
We’re quick to say the church is more than a building, since it’s the congregation that is the Church. Sure, the leadership maintains the vision and strategy of keeping the congregation healthy, but your information can’t feel like it’s more for the leadership’s contentment and success than for the congregation’s! If people don’t hear or see themselves in your content, they’ll be likely to ignore it the next time.
2. Saying too much.
More and more, people are reading less and less. We often realize that most only read a headline on a social media post. Why? Because they expect an editor to control the headline to give the overview of the main content. They essentially want YOU to do the work of quickly summing up what they want to know. Give too many details or write in a very wordy manner? People will ignore the information rather than reading it. This fail makes people ignore your work rather than enjoy it. Instead, remove all unnecessary or redundant content and make the content easily captured: headlines are critical, then subheads, bullet points, and then links.
Few will read much more (so why have it?). For videos? SHOW content and quickly refer to it if needed. Unless you have the budget and storyline of Netflix, you probably want to keep your video content to less than 2 minutes.
Watch analytics for how long your audience is actually watching videos or staying on a page of written content. Adjust accordingly.
3. Expecting one person to do it all.
Church leadership remember how one support person controlled and led the bulletin process, and they think that one person can still create, control, and push all the information for a church. This will usually fail.
The communication world has gotten fragmented while the audience has become fickle for how they want information. One person can rarely do everything required for the average-sized church. What can you do? Stop comparing yourself to large churches who have amazing content everywhere. They accomplish it with a TEAM of people. Sometimes a very large team.
Instead, realistically identify what you can do in order to keep your audience delighted. Maybe that’s a smaller-sized bulletin, one social account, and a simple website that everything points too. Usually, that means posters, handouts, sermon graphics banners, etc. may need to hire freelance designers to accomplish them.
A volunteer group is another option but requires a special leader who can motivate and control. Remember that the time requirement of managing takes away from the time required to do their usual jobs.