There are many reasons why a church needs to consider partnering with a church communicator, whether by hiring a full- or part-time staff member, working with a contractor, or utilizing a volunteer.
Today, I will focus on what I consider the top three reasons why your church needs a communications professional.
The saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Years ago, a church’s first impression was its physical front door.
Today, the first threshold someone may cross is your website. Jerod from ChurchJuice states, “Building and maintaining a website isn’t easy, especially when many churches are underfunded and understaffed. Yet a website is the first contact many new people will have with a church and it’s a place regulars go to find information. A communicator’s goal is to remove barriers from people getting the information they need.”
Peter Frank with Concordia Technology Solutions echoes Jerod, sharing a story similar to what many of us have experienced when looking for a church. Where do we start? Often Google. Frank gives four simple ways to improve your church’s first impression and encourage visitor engagement through your website.
As congregations, we do our best to make our places of worship warm and inviting. We have people greeting visitors at the doors, ushers who help them find seats, manned welcome centers to ensure our visitors feel welcomed, and staff and volunteer committees to help set up and beautify our worship and fellowship areas.
It is essential for congregations to start putting a similar emphasis on the church’s digital front door, the website. Churches need an individual—a church communicator—dedicated to strategically planning, updating, creating, and maintaining website content.
What actually is the bigger picture? Many of us are so focused on day-to-day goals that we often do not look past our individual ministries. Take a moment to think about your church. How many ministries do you have? Grab a piece of paper and a pen. For demonstration purposes, let’s just make a quick list of the most common ministries:
Now, list the individual groups under each ministry. The number of groups you list may surprise you. Next, think of one group under a specific ministry. How does this specific group communicate their events, meetings, ministry needs, and so on with the group itself, but, more importantly, with the congregation? Think of all the different medium possibilities this one group has to communicate its information.
A church communicator will complete an audit of your congregation. In spite of our best intentions, churches build silos (in other words, boundaries) around their ministries. Every church struggles with silos. A church communicator will discover the silos between your church’s ministries and the barriers that cause them.
Additionally, they will uncover duplicate efforts among the ministries—and there are duplicate efforts. Where there are duplicate efforts, there may be duplicate expenses. Duplicate efforts may not uncover tangible expenses, but remember the value of staff member’s time, or even a volunteer’s. Are you utilizing your resources wisely (both financial and manpower)?
A church communicator is trained to see the big picture, and your church needs someone who is dedicated to seeing the overarching organizational structure. Not only the overarching ministries, but the individual groups under each ministry. They can see what efforts can be combined, eliminated, implemented, or streamlined. They will help tear down the ministry silos, remove barriers, and will collaborate with each ministry to devise a specific communication strategy.
Let’s be honest. We wear a lot of hats in the church. With limited resources, both financial and support staff/volunteer resources, many called church workers complete tasks that were not included in their original job descriptions. Can we blame them? No, all of the bases must be covered.
Many pastors and other called church workers are planning communication strategies, maintaining website content, designing web and print marketing campaigns for Easter, and planning Social Media updates. This is in addition to their called tasks, such as: hospital visits, sermon preparation, Bible study preparation, pastoral care, leadership roles, etc.
Dave Shrein, a church communicator, says, “The true responsibility of these [called] individuals is to create an environment where the Holy Spirit can move. Removing roadblocks and distractions from a potential encounters with Jesus.”
Shrein continues, “Church communicators have the same responsibility. Our ultimate effort should be to create an environment where God can speak. The church is unique in that it is a collection of individuals from so many different walks a life. Creative types, analytical types, and just about everything else in between.”
In Romans 12 Paul talks about the Body of Christ being one body with different functions, but operating as one whole. “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them . . .”
I’m not saying that church communication is a spiritual gift, but when a Pastor or DCE is taking hours of their precious time to carry out communication tasks, their called ministry is more than likely suffering, and they are probably not utilizing the gifts which they were given. Church communicators can alleviate that burden.
Katy Dunigan from CSM puts it beautifully, “Church communication is more than a job or a list of tasks to be completed. It’s a mission, a ministry, and a powerful channel to communicate Christ’s love and peace.”
God has blessed each of us with specific and individual gifts. Church communicators are often blessed with creativity, strategy, and a passion to communicate God’s amazing love and grace by supporting the individuals God has called into ministry.
Ultimately, your church needs a church communicator to:
Discover more ways to streamline and improve your church office operations in our free ebook, “51 Ideas to Make Your Church Office Hum.”