One of the greatest threats from the COVID pandemic may not be the illness itself. The most effective communication is two individuals in conversation. Yet, the idea of communicating "face to face" has been replaced by "social distancing" and wearing masks. Amid this counterculture, let's look at three steps to keeping the relational form of communication alive.
Define Your Audience in Smaller Terms
In its purest form, face-to-face communication (F2F) involves two individuals. It's me speaking with you. The further you get from this personal interaction, the more complex the process becomes.
Your church audience has many segments – the whole church, women, men, senior adults, married folks, single folks, kids, students, and more. Particularly in the current situation, we need to distill each of your church's audience segments down to as small as possible.
If your church has a small group ministry or program, this might be the best place to start. Your goal here is to make it easy for your church to stay in touch relationally and have F2F conversation opportunities.
Define Communication Methods
A lot of communication happens digitally in today's world. While this has altered our in-person interactions, it hasn't diminished the need. Still, it may be the primary method your church needs to leverage to keep your congregation connected.
Everyone doesn't communicate the same way, nor do they utilize the same communication channels. Adults aren't typically using Snapchat, while teens and pre-teens aren't on Facebook. Find an appropriate method of communicating that best aligns with your group. Then, be consistent. Just be sure your church establishes balanced and proper guidelines with accountability for safety and security, particularly with younger audiences.
Adjust as Needed
Everything is in flux right now. The health crisis has forced long-range planning to take a back seat to tactical, sometimes in-the-moment planning. If you're a strategist like me, this approach has been stretching. But these are the times for trying new things and adjusting as needed.
Let your group know your intentions, why you're trying this, and offer a disclaimer saying you're unsure if it will work. If your upfront, your group will go along for the ride. Be open and solicit input. What you do, do together.
If your congregation consists of an older demographic, you might have received pushback about using online communication methods. Do a deeper dive to qualify this premise. Explore analytics on your webpage, app, and email newsletter to establish how your older demographic interacts with your church digitally. It just might surprise you!
If you need help with defining your audiences, exploring analytics, or revising your internal approach to communications, ChurchCom Solutions coaching is designed for you. Contact ChurchCom Solutions to learn more.
Don Wambolt has over 25 years' experience in leading church communications. More