Andy Swart: Pastor Who Understands Communication

Andy Swart: Pastor Who Understands Communication

April 27, 2015 by

We’ve already introduced you to two of the new Center for Church Communications (CFCC) board members in Jenny Rain and Cleve Persinger. Now it’s time to meet the third and final new addition to the CFCC board: Andy Swart.

Andy is the lead and founding pastor of Metro Church in Rogers, Ark. He planted “The Metro” in 2007 when he heard the call of God to reach his generation for Christ. Metro Church had a visit from the 2012 Creative Missions team and his church saw 400% growth thanks to Creative Missions.

Andy and his wife, Carman, live in Northwest Arkansas with their two daughters, Laine and Ellie, and their faithful, yellow Labrador, Hondo.

What’s your church working on right now that’s fun?

Andy Swart: Where to begin? With a growing church, the organizational stresses in this season provide a fun and problem solving atmosphere where we are addressing building constraints, health and care of those in our church, living on mission to reach our coworkers and neighbors and a continual push to develop more leaders to love and lead in our community groups. Never a dull moment, tons of fun!

Walk softly, but carry a big, God-sized vision of communications.

As a pastoral representative on the board, what do church communicators need to know about pastors?

Andy: Be patient and give them the benefit of the doubt if they don’t immediately see the value in communications. If a pastor is worth their salt in ministry, they really want to reach people, but don’t always know how.

Slowly talk them through the process and benefits of church communications. Pastors have so many voices through the church, the blogosphere and social media telling them what they’re doing wrong and your church will grow “if you do this one thing.”

Pastors need to know you’re not adding to their plate, but helping reach people through existing technologies. Be humble and non-threatening. Humility will get things done. Walk softly, but carry a big, God-sized vision of communications.

Pastors must be the church communicator’s biggest cheerleaders.

Being that pastoral presence is on our board, what do you think church communicators most need from a pastoral perspective?

Andy: Enthusiasm and tangible resources! Never leave your church communicators alone on an island. You may not understand SEO, advertising, marketing or web presence, but these things will reach people and transform lives.

This is the business you’re in, if this doesn’t get you fired up, go sell insurance. Make it a priority to provide relational and financial support.

Pastors must be the church communicator’s biggest cheerleaders and give them some financial resources to develop and experiment with new ways to reach people and share stories of life transformation in the church.

Stop broadcasting, start connecting.

What’s the single greatest thing you think churches can do to communicate better?

Andy: Stop broadcasting, start connecting. I am overwhelmed with the constant reminder of how much pain most people are in. They’re looking for tangible ways to grow in their relationship with Christ, love their families better and share their story of what God is doing in their lives.

This is what I want our church to communicate: we are here to help you in your hurt and pain and desire to connect with Jesus.

Reducing church communications to keeping people in the loop on every little church activity that doesn’t address their deepest longings to know God and make him known miss the mark.

Communicate stories of life-change, give hope and listen to your people. They’ll let you know how to connect, it’s what they desire

Church communicators must be on the leading edge of how people are communicating and connecting.

What do you see in the future of church communication?

Andy: I’m a pastor and not a church communicator, so I’m not gifted in knowing the trends coming down the pipe. I think church communicators must be on the leading edge of how people are communicating and connecting.

Pastors need to give their communicators a lot of rope to experiment with new platforms and avenues to connect with both their physical congregation and online congregation.

Some things will stick and work, others won’t. If a campaign doesn’t work, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater—assess, evaluate and look ahead.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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