6 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded Church FAIL

6 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded Church FAIL

September 23, 2015 by

It’s almost time for the next worship service and you’re excited.

You’ve worked hard on a new campaign. That pesky bulletin is done. The new connect cards are printed and ready to be filled out. The announcement video has new graphics. And you’re ready for the whole church to see it.

And then it happens.

Lights go down. Video rolls. And you see it. A misspelled word. ‘Their’ instead of ‘There.’ ‘Your’ not ‘You’re.’ Your heart begins to race. Sweat drips.

You look down at the bulletin and notice the wrong date for the Men’s Prayer Breakfast. You almost pass out. Church FAIL.

Failures in communication happen because systems were not in place or not adhered to.

How could this happen? You’ve now gone from excitement to panic—you did everything you could this week to get every bit of communications out. Now you just want to get it all back in your hands.

You Can Overcome the Mistakes

I’ve found the majority of mistakes or failures in church communications come because systems were not in place or not adhered to.

When communications becomes the catchall for every ministry to bombard the congregation with information they don’t care about, we get overwhelmed.

We get to a place where we no longer worried about pointed communications. We just want to get things done. Get the word out.

Here are some ways to combat that.

1. Ministry Deadlines

Develop a deadline for when ministries must have information to your team so you can decide the best way to communicate that information.

How much time does the communications team need to produce a perfect campaign for the ministry and/or their event? Allow time to design, order and produce whatever the ministry is asking. These expectations and boundaries need to be clear to everyone.

2. Communications Pipeline

How does a ministry leader or event coordinator get the pertinent information to you? Develop a form you can point ministries to. This form can include the obvious dates, name, etc.

You’ll want to ask questions like:

  • Who are we targeting?
  • How many are you expecting to attend your event?
  • What is the overall theme?
  • What is the goal of the event and how does this fit within the mission of our church?
  • When do you want to begin promoting?
  • Do you need any graphics?
A proofing team helps to protect the values of the communications team and the church.

3. Proofing Team

Have two or three people on your team proof everything that is going out. Not only are they looking for misspellings and grammar, but they are also looking at the feel of the piece.

Ask whether this matches our church or the ministry or the event. Ask whether the copy makes sense. Ask if what you are pushing out would make them attend the event.

Your proofing team goes beyond the face value of what you are communicating. They are helping to protect the values of the communications team and the church.

4. Style Guide

I have found that this is critical to making sure that everything you do—whether it is print, web or video—looks and feels the same according to the agreed upon style of the church.

Are you using approved logos, fonts, colors? Does your copy reflect how your pastor speaks?

You should be looking at both editorial style and visual style.

5. Meet With Ministries

This is huge! Always try to meet with the person requesting communications. This will ensure you get the heartbeat of the event. You can really work out any misunderstandings or questions that you may have.

Forging relationships is key to avoiding ministry dysfunction.

Evaluation will always lead you and your team toward future success.

6. Debrief

At the end of every ministry event or communications campaign, gather around the table and talk through what worked and what did not. Evaluation will always lead you and your team toward future success.

This is also a time for ministry leaders to share with you and help you amend any communication policies or procedures that suited them or not.

Implement some communications systems and you’ll begin to feel the weight of uncertainty lift.

We’ve All Been There

We’ve all walked into the building hoping that just this one Sunday, everything would go according to plan. The bulletin will be free of errors. The video promo will connect. People will sign up. This can happen. I repeat, this can happen.

Implement the above systems and you’ll begin to feel the weight of uncertainty lift from your shoulders.

Post By:

Meiko Seymour

Meiko Seymour is the author of The Heartbeat System, a community life pastor at Pinellas Community Church in St. Petersburg, Fla., and an avid fan of coffee. Meiko blogs over at meikoseymour.com where his passions are to move people forward toward their goals and dreams as they work to contribute to our society.
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4 Responses to “6 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded Church FAIL”

  • Andrew Toohill
    September 24, 2015

    Hi Meiko,

    I really appreciate your article. Great job breaking things down in a systematic approach. What would you say to smaller churches who don’t have a marketing or communications team but see the need to implement some of these processes.


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    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      September 25, 2015

      Hey Andrew: A lot of these ideas you can still implement in a small church. Your proofreading team just might be a small group of volunteers (like one or two). A style guide is something you can pretty easily put together yourself, just a shared Google Doc where you collect some standard practices.

      It’ll happen on a smaller scale for sure, and it can be tempting to avoid processes because you’re small. But processes and systems are how you can avoid mistakes, make things easier and help everything run more smoothly.

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  • Nicole
    September 24, 2015

    Really DO appreciate the article! Honestly. In this week, when I have dropped so many balls, and when even reading the word FAIL makes me immediately think of myself, it helped to see someone else make a TINY mistake. It helped to hear myself say- “oh, that’s OK…Hmmm… I should be OK when that happens to me too.” The article will help me to do my volunteer thang in a less stressful way. I appreciate you!

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    • Meiko Seymour
      September 28, 2015


      Can I tell you something? In our chaotic world of ministry, things happen. It doesn’t mean WE fail. It simply means that there is a problem that has a solution — somewhere. Our job is to find the right solution for our context. Then reboot. Execute. Reevaluate. Then do it again.

      We fail when we don’t attempt to get better. I can tell you want to get better — so that makes you a success in my book!

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