The Church Communicator's Toolkit
When I was a local church communicator, one of my biggest enemies was noise.
I’m sure you can relate. As a church communicator, you’re surrounded by noise from other ministries, staff, and leaders. Noise from distractions online and in the workplace. Noise from having too much to do in too little time.
I’ve been there. I get it. But leveraging the right set of tools can help you be more efficient and productive. So here’s a toolkit to help you ease or even cut through the noise.
Disclosure: These are all products and services I use and love and recommend freely. However, I have included affiliate links for a few of these resources (connoted by an *). At no additional cost to you, Church Juice may receive a small commission if you decide to make a purchase using an affiliate link.
Google provides an integrated solution for email, calendars, documents, storage, and team collaboration. Google Workplace (formerly G Suite) helps keep everything I’m doing organized. Church Juice uses Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for our content creation, collaboration, editing, preparing, and presenting.
If you’re sending out surveys or creating registration forms, Typeform* may be a great fit. The forms look awesome, they’re easy to develop and straightforward to use. The completed forms are easy to analyze and export to Excel or wherever you need the data to go. I use Typeform when Church Juice sends surveys or if we’re doing any sort of registration.
My inbox is filled with noise, and I have trouble trying to stay on top of endless email threads. Slack is a great instant communication tool for teams—whether that’s staff or volunteers. I can interact when I want to, but I can also snooze Slack and focus on the task at hand when I need to silence the noise. You can also create channels, which are specific groups of people discussing a certain topic or genre of chatter.
Social Media Tools
Buffer is great for scheduling out posts to several social platforms ahead of time. I love Buffer because it’s clean and intuitive. I also love the ability it gives me to keep a consistent calendar, schedule in advance, and also analyze recent posts.
Social Media Content Calendar
This is a free content calendar template in Google Sheets. I use this exact template in planning social media for myself, now that we have an awesome Social Media Specialist who manages Church Juice’s social content. In fact, here’s the spreadsheet she uses. You can copy and adapt either content calendar to help you plan ahead for all your social posts and campaigns.
For just $9 a month, Sunday Social will provide you several social media images each day to use, complete with potential captions. The graphic design is top-notch, and it’s well worth the money. Sunday Social helps me save time, increase engagement, and keep a high standard of design for our content.
I really love using Mailchimp. In fact, we’ve written about it on Church Juice’s website. My church uses Mailchimp for its email communication, and I encourage just about every church I interact with to utilize this tool as well. It’s easy to learn, easy to use, works well with other tools, and is free for the majority of churches.
Writing & Editing
One of the great tools available from Google Workplace is Google Docs. I mentioned Google Docs above when talking about Google Workplace, but I'd be remiss if I didn't say a little more. Docs has transformed the way teams can work together on writing everything from sermons to ad copy and blog posts to bulletin announcements.
As a communicator, you’re both receiving (and editing) and creating content all the time. Grammarly is a great tool that can be used to help ensure all of your content is free from grammatical errors and other typos.
In all the content we create, we want to be as concise and clear as possible. Ernest Hemingway was known for his short, pithy writing style. The Hemingway Editor is a free website that will check your work for readability and clarity.
Do you have more than one task at-hand? Of course you do. Asana is a project management tool; it’s how I make sure I don’t lose track or drop the ball on anything I need to get done. You can use Asana for your own projects, as well as projects that you’re working on with teams. There are other project management tools out there, but I enjoy using Asana the most because it works like I do—with my tasks at the forefront, organized into various projects and campaigns.
I love this notebook*. I take it everywhere I go. I use the notebook for a full year, then start with a fresh one. It contains all my random ideas, thoughts, and notes. I can sketch things out if I need to or just write a list of brainstorm ideas and notes as I consult with churches.
The Panda Planner* is my newest development tool. It helps me to stay organized and think through projects that I need to accomplish. A great aspect of the planner is that it forces me to, focus on the positive elements in my life. There’s a daily, weekly, and monthly section for planning and review. I start each morning going through my day reflecting and preparing.
Pocket is a huge time-saver for me. I run across tons of articles, emails, and commentaries that I’d love to read, but don’t want to get distracted from what I’m trying to get done at the time. Using Pocket, I can save the article for later, then I create a task (in Asana), and schedule a time to sit down and read through it.
Often, I want to keep learning, but don’t have the time to sit down and read another book. Audible* makes it easier for me to keep learning and developing. I can download an audiobook and listen to it on my drive, while I run or work out, or while I’m traveling.
Canva has helped church communicators everywhere step up their graphic design game. With thousands of templates to choose from, it makes creating flyers a snap, along with social media graphics, sermon series design, slides, and whatever else you can think up.
Most churches don’t have a full-time designer (let alone a full media team). That’s where an organization like Vibrant Agency can really fill the gap. For a reasonable monthly charge, Vibrant Agency will create—from scratch!—a brand new website for your church. They’ll also provide unlimited graphic design. They can even provide video editing services. They provide all of this high-quality content for less than hiring a college intern. Talk about a time (and money) saver!
Do you have a tool that other communicators would find helpful? Add it in the comments below!