There are two common mistakes churches make in their communication strategy. They either task communication planning to each ministry or delegate it to one person or team. While either can work, neither is the best. The first can result in congestion and unintended competition, while the second can produce frustration and tension. Let's explore each scenario a little more to expose potential hazards.
Ministries and Communications Planning
Church activities originate within each ministry. And since they create the events, have all the details, know their audience, it would make sense that they would be in the best position to build the communications plan, right?
For instance, let's say your men's ministry has a kick-off event to increase attendance for their weekly gatherings. The men's committee meets to come up with a communications plan. After much discussion, they decide to request bulletin and screen announcements for four weeks, a postcard mailing, an insert in the bulletin three weeks before the event kick-off, and a feature video to promote the event. They'd like the video to run the same Sunday as the bulletin insert.
They also thought it would be great to have each committee member wear branded t-shirts the Sunday the video airs. They will all be at a display in the lobby for men to stop by and ask questions or register. They would like the communication plan to kick off in three weeks.
This type of planning occurs in many churches. It seems like a pretty straightforward and detailed plan, but here are the potential challenges:
Relegating Responsibilities to One Person or Team
If your church has a communications coordinator or team on staff, you may rely on them to plan all the communications. And after reading the above method, you might assume that a coms coordinator or team is the way to go.
In this model, coms team members gather the info they need and create promotions when they need it. It's their job to collect the data and follow up with each team leader for whatever they need.
But trouble arises when ministries depend too heavily on one person or department. When promotion effectiveness seems to fall short, the blame goes where the responsibility lies. As ministry seasons get busy, the coms team heads toward exhaustion.
A Better Way
The best approach I've found is when ministries and coms team partner together to share the promotion's responsibilities. After all, each person on a church staff is on the same team, ministry partners. Church leaders should define each department's specific role.
Using the men's ministry event presented above, here's how this approach could work:
With this approach, the coms coordinator typically has the broader perspective that the men's committee may not have regarding upcoming church promotions and the coms team's workload. They can suggest a plan they know they can accommodate. Together, everyone sets expectations on what's being promoted, how, and when.
No system run by people is guaranteed to work 100 percent of the time. But if you explore ways to move toward a more conversational and teamwork approach, it should reduce the risk of tension and competition. If you are interested in exploring ways to improve your communications strategy, we can help. Schedule free coaching session today.
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Don Wambolt has over 25 years' experience in leading church communications. More