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3 Dangers of Over-Communication

Jan 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM

3 Dangers of Over-communication
Think all of the ways a person, group, or ministry can communicate information at your church. More than likely your church has a website, a bulletin, church announcements (both verbal and slides), a monthly newsletter, and possibly social media and emails.

How often do members and ministries approach the church office and ask that their message be communicated in all church communication when the message may only apply to a mere few of the congregation?

For instance, let’s say that you have a small weekday morning Bible study where the majority of the individuals are 70+. Your leader needs to cancel last minute because of illness. They ask for a church-wide email announcement to be sent. You comply. Over-communication can be dangerous.

Messages are lost in the noise.

Imagine a radio booming, the TV blaring, a baby wailing, the toddler hammering on the piano keys, the phone ringing, all while trying to hold a conversation with your friend or spouse. Can you filter out what they are trying to tell you through all the noise?

When every minor and major ministry event is included in multiple communication mediums, the messages that we need our members to hear cannot be heard through the irrelevant noise.

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, the founders of The Minimalists said in their recent article Turn Down the Volume, “With all the technological advances of the past few decades, we’ve become more efficient than ever. But, of course, with every discrete bit of input from our laptops, tablets, smartphones, earbuds, email, apps, and Wi-Fi toasters, our world has grown louder.

Noise is an unintentional byproduct of productivity. The more we produce, the more we increase the volume. Eventually the noise is so loud we must shout to be heard.”

Loss of credibility and people's attention.

If our churches continually blare the same messages across all mediums that do not pertain to a majority of our members, we risk losing our credibility.

Shelly Watts a Director of Development for a Detroit non-profit, warned of the dangers of over communication in a recent virtual conference session, Designing & Delivering Effective Donor Communication. She stressed the importance of segmenting communication by creating messages that are targeted and relevant to the audience. If you broadcast to everyone, you are broadcasting to no one,” said Watts.

With no boundaries, expectations will be set.

If our church staffs do not set specifications and procedures of ministry and event communication we may set unrealistic expectations to ministries and members, regardless of their pertinence. Thus, creating an environment where all church events and ministries are given the same “screen time” and attention. Ultimately building a setting where your church staff does not have the ability to do their job efficiently nor effectively, or allow them the ability to say “no.”

Let’s come back to the story above about the senior weekday Bible study requesting a special church-wide email about the cancelation of their study due to illness. The expectation has been set, because the boundaries had not been built. 

What would be a better solution for this ministry? Something more effective than blasting the entire congregation? Think about the demographic of this ministry. How they communicate. Would they see an email or social media post before study? It may take more time than drafting an email, but what about the old fashion phone-tree?

It is important to have set procedures on how your church decides on ministry and event communication. A communication plan will allow your messages to be heard and will set a precedence that your church staff can follow.


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Jenn Eickman

Written by Jenn Eickman

Jenn is the Director of Development at the Lutheran Student Center and Fairmount Coffee, as well as a freelance communicator who has worked with churches and nonprofits. After studying communications at Iowa State University, she received a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University. Jenn is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus Christ and continues to be in awe of how the Lord led her into the field of church communications. She enjoys having deep discussions, playing piano, reading, and knitting, along with rooting for the Iowa State Cyclones with her husband.

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