5-Minute Church Communication Strategy

5-Minute Church Communication Strategy

March 18, 2013 by

Some will say that the very act of sitting down to come up with a communication strategy will improve how you communicate. While that may be true, it helps if you are asking yourself the right questions:

Question 1: Who is my church trying to reach?
Now, you might be tempted to say, “Everyone!” But start with your church’s mission statement. Everything you do will trickle down from the mission of your church. If your church is like most churches, it probably has some sort of evangelistic phrases in its mission statement. In fact, if you asked your senior leaders to share their heart about who they would like to reach, they will most likely speak of reaching those who do not already know Jesus.

This step is critical because it will drive how you communicate in your bulletin, website and from the stage. It will force you to come up a communication system that is easy, obvious and strategic. It means you give preference to the outsider who has not yet been to your church, as opposed to the insider who has been there for years.

Example: Every weekend at our church we have a short video program before the service that talks about things going on at the church. Over half of the content is for someone who is new or who is not yet involved. This means the person who is already involved continues to hear much of the same information every week. But it is critical to have a consistent message for a first timer to have a great first experience with your church. Everything must happen in balance, but if the mission of your church is to reach those not in the church then start talking to them!

Question 2: How are we going to reach our audience on the weekend and during the week?
The weekend seems easy, but without a strategic plan it will turn to chaos. You will need to put together a simple criteria to determine what will be talked about through your bulletin, from the stage and on the screens. The easy criteria to start from is what percentage of your total audience does a particular announcement apply to. If it is below 90% then you might not want to talk about it from the stage. If it is below 50% then you might not want to talk about it at all on the weekends.

But don’t stop there, your website, email newsletter and social media should continue to engage and dialog about the same things that are talked about on the weekend. Your website should always be the most trusted source of information. Then all other media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) should point to that content.

The most important element about reaching your online audience is engagement. Don’t just tell them the information you want them to hear. Dialog with them. Ask questions. Post photos. Have fun!

By asking these two simple questions, it will begin to frame a strategy from which to start. Focus on communicating creatively and effectively to the people already connected to your church to get them motivated, excited and equipped for outreach. Then you can begin to focus on external marketing based on your mission and budget.

We’re thrilled to partner with Creative Missions (our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication, handles the Creative Missions finances). Learn more about Creative Missions and this year’s trip to Alaska and consider a financial donation to help church communicators help other churches communicate better.

For more helpful tips like this, check out Dangerous: A Go-to Guide for Church Communication. It’s a booklet of articles by Creative Missions alumni offering a crash course in church marketing basics.

Post By:

Joe Porter

Joe Porter is the communications director at Whitewater Crossing in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area in addition to maintaining his photo and video business.
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5 Responses to “5-Minute Church Communication Strategy”

  • Curtis
    March 23, 2013

    The first question to ask, before these two, is “Why?”

    What is the purpose of communicating? Are you trying to increase attendance? Increase membership? Increase donations? Spread the gospel? Improve discipleship? Christian education? Promote and event? and so on and so on…

    Many times I’ve sat down with a church group to try to improve communication in the church, and everyone in the group has a different “why” in the back of their head that is motivating their ideas. The communication strategy never gets any focus until all the “whys” are put on the table and mutual agreement is made to prioritize the “whys” and focus on one at a time.

    Once a single “why” is agreed on, that helps define the who and how.

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  • Mark Simmons
    April 8, 2013

    Oh, how I wish it was that simple! Even executing on the answer to the first question is exceedingly difficult. I find the vast (and I mean 98% +) majority of people find it incredibility difficult to put themselves in someone else’s shoes–and most of our communication reflects that. Insider jargon, wrong assumptions about what our audience knows and what they think are mistakes that are made all the time. Rarely, does anyone ask themselves the questions: What does my audience know and not know concerning what I want to communicate? What is the desired outcome (call to action, decision, next step)? What does my audience need to know to feel comfortable making that decision (overcoming obstacles) and what would compel them (positively motivate them) to take that step?

    Jesus was the Master at communication, yet He used the same pattern over and over again. He met people where they WERE and then through brilliant relevant communication took people to where they needed to go.

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  • DL Church Websites
    April 12, 2013

    When you create your church’s website, it’s essential to know what message you want to convey. When a potential visitor comes to it, they should very quickly get an idea of what you’re about and what you offer. Each church has its own personality, and you want that to come across on your site.

    You also want to connect with your members and those already attending your church. Your website is the ideal place to do that. You can share prayer requests, post upcoming events, etc – there are many ways that the congregation can stay engaged with each during the week.

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  • Ryan McLean
    November 10, 2013

    I think we are getting to the point in 2013 where social media and your online presence should be considered AS IMPORTANT if not MORE IMPORTANT than the Sunday service.

    But I know very few people will adopt that idea. I like the ideas in this post. I’ll start trawling through your archives.

    Email me if you want to collaborate and share ideas

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