Churches are many things: families, communities, ministries, entities, and even organizations. And like all organizations, there are often messages that need to be communicated to the people who are part of them. Church members need to communicate messages to each other. Pastors need to communicate messages to the church family. And church members need to communicate messages to the church leadership. But how to effectively communicate these messages is often a challenge that does not have an easy solution.
Here are six ways to make this process of communication easier and more effective.
Take some time to understand basic communication platforms
No matter how rural or “backwoods” your church is, online communication is inescapable. Online communication platforms such as social media, blogs, and newsletters are not only essential for businesses nowadays, they are also essential for churches. This doesn’t mean you need to be posting daily on Instagram photos of everything that is happening. How you use these tools varies depending on your situation.
You should take time to understand the basics of online communication platforms, and learn the nuances of each. This way you can understand which ones work best for your church. For example, a tool like Instagram will be much more public facing, so you can potentially interact with the community around your church. A newsletter or private Facebook group, on the other hand, will be more internal. You will communicate with mostly just those who are attending the church or connected with it in some way.
Use marketing strategies
Marketing is complex and ever-changing, but there are two principles of marketing that should be used when communicating a need to a church. Ryan Nelson explains in his article “12 Things Good Communications Pastors Have in Common” that “… every message should prioritize the benefits to the people you’re communicating with, and every message should have a purpose that fits with your ministry goals.”
This means that before you present the message, you must understand what the benefits will be, and you must understand what your organization’s goals are. If you cannot communicate what the benefits are, or if they do not align with the goals, then something needs to be changed before the message is communicated.
Have a consistent communication channel
Weekly church services are obviously the most common and most consistent form of communicating a message, but it is important to open up more channels of consistent communication. These may include a weekly blog post or weekly newsletter from the pastor or leadership. Or you could use social media to open up a weekly or monthly discussion with your church group. Facebook allows closed groups, where you can keep the discussions limited to your church family.
Another option is creating a video blog, which can be posted to YouTube and shared with your church members. You can then interact with them in the comments. You can even create a physical newsletter that is printed and distributed at church services.
The most important aspect isn’t always the method of communication, it is often the consistency. When you regularly communicate through a designated channel, church members know where and when they will be receiving information. They understand how and where to access it, and they know how to respond. When a need arises within the church, there will already be an avenue to communicate that need.
No matter what channel you use to communicate the need, writing will be involved. This is especially true if you use blog posts, printed flyers, bulletin inserts, social media, emails, or website pages. All of these include some form of writing, and that writing needs to be compelling, interesting, inspiring, persuasive, and clear.
If you are not someone who writes clearly and persuasively, then find someone else to do it for you. It is better to find someone who is skilled in this area. There may be a church member who is a copywriter or freelance writer, or you could even outsource this task.
Condense information to its main point
One of the most important skills in communication is reducing a message to its main point. This is also one of the most difficult skills. The more ideas included in a message, the more unclear its purpose will become. It is easy to communicate a lot of information in a message, but it is difficult to communicate a lot of information clearly.
When you communicate through an email, social media, blog post, or other channel, condense the message down to one point. Write everything based around that point. When the audience steps away, they will easily remember your message.
If you are going to communicate a message to your church, but you do not have the skills to write blog posts, create brochures, or design a newsletter or handout, delegate these responsibilities. These are time-consuming and challenging tasks. If they are going to cut into the time you need for doing your core responsibilities, find someone else to do them.
There may be members in your church who know how to handle these tasks. If not, you could find a local or online freelancer who can manage them for you. It is better to delegate these responsibilities to someone else so you can focus on the goals of your message rather than struggling to learn the Adobe Suite.