Church Marketing Podcast: The Christmas Planning Episode

Church Marketing Podcast: The Christmas Planning Episode

November 12, 2014 by

More About This Episode

Christmas is a double-edged sword for communicators. Christmas is established and there is already a narrative that church-goers are expecting to engage with. So how do you continue to re-ignite the excitement for Christmas not only in the hearts of the people but in the hearts of church staff? The key is in the approach.

Every church has a different process for planning out various seasons of ministry or series of messages, yet the central element that is vital to every process is the idea of the approach. The concept of the approach is two-fold. The approach refers to the process of planning your calendar as well as the process of deciding theme.

In The Christmas Planning Episode we examine the series planning strategy for one church in Texas and explore the elements of their process which are best practices for churches in general. We also identify how to manage the approach if you’re in an environment where planning and strategizing is not something that happens natural.

About Our Guest

Scott McClellan is the communication pastor at Irving Bible Church which is just outside the Dallas/Fort Worth area and has been on staff at Irving for just over two years. What’s unique about Scott is that he had been attending Irving Bible long before he ever began working at the church. Irving Bible is a non-denominational church of about 3,000 and has been around over 50 years. Scott works with a team of three designers, a magazine editor and communication coordinator in order to accomplish a long list of communication items he’s responsible for overseeing.

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

I saw a tweet go out that was something like, “Almost everything we do doesn’t matter. Focus on the things that matter.” It was tough to stomach at first but once I thought about it, it made sense. I began to think of it as 99% of what we do inherently does not matter. That last 1% matters and if you make the 99% of what you do all about that 1% that matters, then everything you do matters.

When you look at all of a communication person’s efforts, writing, social, photos, etc., 99% of that doesn’t matter in and of itself. A nice photo may be a nice photo but it doesn’t matter unless it’s part of a greater story… unless it has a greater purpose. Unless it directly points back and makes famous the one thing or the 1% that truly matters.

What is the one thing that matters? It’s your church’s mission or vision. It’s what your church goes after harder than anything else. Your church has a unique mission that it has been uniquely positioned to do, and that unique mission is the 1% that all the other 99% must point to or support.

The Gospels contain the most essential stories, themes and truths that support the main reason Jesus came: to provide a way for us to return to the Father. In one of the Gospels it’s even said that there are not enough pages to contain all the stories of the miracles of Christ. The ones that the authors chose to include were those that support the main reason Jesus came. They kept the main thing the main thing.

What is the main thing you are going after and how does everything you do come around that main thing and support it? Knowing this changes everything.

Getting Communication Systems In Place

At the start of October a Phoenix church brought me in to help put communication systems in place that would eliminate confusion and conversation over every single item submitted for communication.

After spending a month evaluating their current practices, asking a lot of questions and doing a lot of listening, we’ve begun putting together systems that help organize what gets a verbal announcement and what goes in the program.

Some key things communication leaders need to consider and keep in mind as they work to establish new systems:

  • Have a clear understanding of the current process.
  • Understand the values the current process protects and how the process came to be established (you’ll want to preserve these values through any changes).
  • Identify every channel or outlet of communication and ask what each is currently used for.
  • When planning out communication, work from the date of the event backwards. Don’t plan from six weeks out forward, plan from the day of and what does communication look like on this day… to a few days out to a week, out etc. Until communication does not need to happen.
  • Have one place where all communication items are listed and document where and when the item will find its way into communication outlets.

Unwelcome with Jonathan Malm

In October I hosed a Google On Air Hangout with Jonathan Malm to talk about his new book, Unwelcome: 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors. What was very interesting is that at the same time I’m reading Jonathan’s book, I began attending a new church with my family and immediately saw attending church through the eyes of a visitor.

Jonathan’s book is very enlightening because nearly all of us attend the church we work at. It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a guest. It’s easy to forget what it’s like to walk in with your kids, wanting to do the right thing and go to the right place only to find out there are no signs pointing you, or the greeter you ask doesn’t know.

Jonathan’s book is not an indictment of church guest practices, but rather a challenge to continue to pursue Christ in the area of hospitality. How can we make it easier for the gospel of Christ to shine through?

You can learn more about Unwelcome here.

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Show Notes

God Rest Ye Stressed Communicators: Planning Christmas for Your ChurchMore Christmas Ideas:

Post By:

Dave Shrein

Dave Shrein is the founder of Campaign Donut, empowering communicators to create content marketing campaigns that convert.
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