I believe that church communications often gets a bad rap. Many church leaders think of marketing and communications as fields of “business,” full of practices that are irrelevant to the mission and purpose of the Church. Instead of championing best practices for communication, we tend to stick to old methods from yesteryear. The problem with this is that we are competing with thousands of other institutions, organizations, businesses, and even individuals that are embracing current communications practices to capture the attention of our members (and community), and inevitably our message gets lost in the noise.
Just twenty years ago, a church really only needed an administrator to do communication well—one person who could create and print the church bulletin and field phone calls from people inquiring about the church and its programs. But in the last two decades, the world has changed drastically. With the rise of platforms like Facebook or Twitter, it is easier than ever for anyone to communicate whatever message they want to proclaim at the click of a button. And this makes the “always-connected” lives of our members (and potential members) a noisy place. Without placing a proper emphasis on communications, our messages get lost in the crowd.
In this new reality, we must spend more time focusing attention on our marketing and communication. I know, that sounds so business-like. But think about it. Is there anything more important than the message we are trying to convey?
This is why I believe every church needs a person, be that on staff or volunteer, who is dedicated to figuring out the best way to communicate the messages the church wants to communicate to the people that need to hear it. Simply put, your church needs a person or team (paid or volunteer) that is focused on marketing and communications.
Think of that outreach event you have coming up in a couple months. A communications person should be heading up a process for getting the word out about that event to the community (aka marketing). This may seem like a major time investment, but doing so allows your church to spend its dollars more wisely, reaching more people effectively, and allowing the church to share the Gospel with an audience that it needs to reach. How about those new Bible studies you’re starting in a couple weeks? Someone in a communications role can make sure that the announcement gets the proper stage time and the right amount of advertising energy across your church’s various platforms (social media, bulletin, and the like). Having someone focused on church communications means that your church doesn’t need to fight for stage time anymore. A communications lead can figure out how to best use the limited amount of time you have to advertise each event properly. But to do so means you need to embrace the way that people are communicating today, and let go of what used to work.
It’s time for the Church to step into this new train of thought. If our churches continue with what used to work, rather than being willing to adapt, congregations are going to continue closing their doors. When we invest in people who can help our church embrace best practices, and proven methods of communication, we can be more effective in making disciples and teaching them to be more like Jesus.