How to Be a Communications Pastor

How to Be a Communications Pastor

September 22, 2014 by

The general task of a communications pastor is to oversee the nuts and bolts of communicating internally and externally through multiple channels including, print, web, social, etc. Tim Schraeder explains more about this in his post “What is a Director of Communications.”

1. Help Accomplish Your Pastor’s Vision

Beyond making slick designs and making sure you are active on the newest social network, your number one goal as a communications pastor is to help accomplish your pastor’s vision.

Your graphics, strategies and goals aren’t about you. They’re about seeing what God has called your pastor to accomplish in your specific church. Your number one role is to figure out the best practices of communicating your church’s vision.

Don’t know what your pastor’s vision is? Offer to take them out to breakfast one morning to ask questions and dive into their heart. Also, pick up the tab.

2. Develop a Team

In your weekly workflow these three words need to be forefront: recruit, train, equip. Your job isn’t to do everything. Find people who can be a part of your team.

Paul writes the church in Ephesus and tells the leaders (apostle, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) “to equip his people for works of services, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

Equip his people to be a part of communications. I once had a pastor tell me my job was “to find other people to do what I’m doing.” He didn’t say that because he wanted to get rid of me, but because he wanted me to expand my area of influence within the church and over people.

I once had a pastor tell me my job was “to find other people to do what I’m doing.”

Work yourself out of a job. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t needed any longer, but instead that you are more valuable to the church. I’d rather have someone on our staff who can mobilize and oversee a team of 50 volunteers instead of doing all the work themselves.

  • Recruit: Write a list of everything you do every day, and that becomes your list of tasks you need to recruit someone to take over. I look at everyone in our church and ask the question, “How can I use them in communication?” Find others to accomplish the small tasks so you can focus on the bigger picture.
    • Examples: Schoolteachers are usually great at writing, editing and proofreading. Kids in high school have a knack for art, video and photography. Business owners and salesmen know marketing.
  • Train: Now that you have recruits, provide them with the training they need to accomplish the task. They are going to need both initial and continual training. Let them know the specifics of the task and your expectations.
  • Equip: Besides providing them with the tools and resources they need, give them the freedom to make their own decisions. Don’t give them a task and then correct them on everything. Letting go for leaders is unnatural, but you have to trust that the people you picked will be able to get the project done. They’ll probably go about it a different way than you’re used to, so don’t psych yourself out. Be sure to give them the space they need to do what you’ve assigned them.

3. Inspire Your Team

After you’ve assembled your team, you should have regular meetings where you can keep them updated on what’s happening with current projects and share success stories of what you’ve been able to accomplish. Be the eyes and ears of the front line of church communications for them and let them know what their hard work has done.

This will help keep their spirits up if they’re tackling a particularly hard project and motivate them to keep moving forward. Remember, you live in the trenches of church communications and they don’t. Your team doesn’t always get to see the product of their efforts.

4. Appreciate Your Team

When is it a good time to appreciate your team? The answer is always. Send emails, texts and cards, call them on their birthday, when they have a new baby and when they’re having a bad day.

Make sure they know how much their work is appreciated and needed. This way they won’t get burned out, and you won’t have to find new members.

5. Soul Care

Genuinely care for them. At the end of the day it isn’t about how great that social media campaign was. What really matters is if we’re helping our team grow in their relationship with Jesus. When they are happy, rejoice with them. When they are sad, mourn with them.

Remember that as a communications pastor, you’re not a one-man band. You can’t do everything yourself and building a good team with a healthy environment is crucial.

Photo by Community Bible Church
Post By:

Evan Courtney

Evan Courtney is a family life pastor and communications director in the middle of the Illinois cornfields at The Fields Church. He’s a graphic designer, media consultant and social media manager.
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5 Responses to “How to Be a Communications Pastor”

  • Meredith Gould (@MeredithGould)
    September 22, 2014

    Solid post and underscoring #5: Soul Care. Even though communications ministers deal quite literally with the Word and words, precious few view this as an essential *ministry* of the church.

    Communications ministers are ministers engaged in ministry and, like all others in active ministry, have stuff coming at us. Soul care is essential! So is saying, “thank you” or even “well done, good and faithful servant.”

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  • Dave Shrein
    September 22, 2014

    This is good stuff Evan. To piggy back off of number one, I would add that while it is your responsibility in your job to help accomplish your pastor’s vision for the church, your identity is not in accomplishing your pastor’s vision for the church. Your identity is what God has called and is equipping you to. It’s easy to confuse these two and the danger is that you find your identity in your work. It’s just like anything else however, for the communication director the job is so closely tied to the call of the church, it’s easy to mis-prioritize the call on the directors life.

    You nailed so much in such a short article. Well done!

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  • Steve Fogg
    October 22, 2014

    Great post Evan,

    Totally agree with what you have written. I would add on top of what Dave wrote about identity and the job’s potential to consume it. I heard a great quote from a guy called Dave Rhodes ‘Work from your identity, not for it.’

    I know I’m good at recruiting, but not great at training so I have to work hard to ensure that a person gets the right support to fulfil their role.

    I would also add – know your own strengths and build out around your weaknesses. It’s important to get the team well balanced with people who can fulfil the right role.



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