The Metamorphosis of a Church Communicator

The Metamorphosis of a Church Communicator

July 24, 2017 by

The role of church communicator is multi-faceted. It evolves over time. You may start your job at a church doing one thing, but over time that job description morphs into something more.

It’s not just [many] new responsibilities.

It’s not merely longer hours.

It’s not simply a larger team.

Church communicators morph from followers to leaders.

The Morphing Process

When you started your job you were probably told what to do. You were told to promote VBS. You were told to do something with the website. You were put in charge of the bulletin.

Most of these tasks were production jobs. You were simply carrying out the wishes of your supervisors. Your pastor says you need to do this, and you do it.

It’s important work. It’s vital. And you do it well.

But inevitably your role begins to morph.

At first people told you what to do, but now you’re deciding what needs to be done. Instead of your pastor telling you to promote Christmas or ministries bringing you their projects, now you’re taking the initiative to plan the Christmas promotions or talk with the ministry leader because you know their annual project is coming up.

Instead of just reacting, you become proactive.

You’re no longer a production department that simply cranks out what you’re told, you begin to shape the strategy of what’s going to be produced.

You’re morphing from a follower into a leader.

A good leader knows that an awesome idea at another church is not necessarily an awesome idea at your church.

How to Survive the Chrysalis

As all metaphors do, this one breaks down when you look too closely. Followers are not gross caterpillars that transform into beautiful butterflies. Not at all. This process does not involve curling up in a corner of your office and spinning a chrysalis made from stale church coffee and leftover communion crackers (thankfully). You do not one day emerge as an amazing, fully functional leader.

That’s not what happens at all. Metaphor FAIL.

Instead, your chrysalis is doing the hard work. It’s an ongoing process. The caterpillar gets to pig out and then relax while they transform into something new, but you have to work at it.

Here are a few tips for surviving the process:

1. Prove Yourself

Not everyone will realize you’re going through a metamorphosis. They may still think of you as that caterpillar who does what they’re told. They don’t realize you’re a butterfly blazing a path through the jungle. (See? Metaphor FAIL.) That’s OK. Don’t get angry or flustered. You’ll have to prove yourself. Probably over and over and over again. Inside tip: That’s what leaders have to do.

The best way to prove yourself: Be a resource. Deliver answers when people need them, come through with more than they expect. When you have to say “no,” offer an alternative that still works.

2. Everything Else Is the Same

You may be evolving into this wonderful leader, but your church is still your church. Your audience is the same audience. Your department and your other ministries are still the same. Sadly, metamorphosis does not come with any fancy new powers. You still don’t walk on water.

So keep that in mind as you’re dreaming up all these new ideas. You still have to work within the limitations of your church, your budget, your audience. Just because you’re now leading the charge instead of taking direction does not mean your congregation is suddenly ready for Snapchat. 

A good leader knows that an awesome idea at another church is not necessarily an awesome idea at your church.

3. Manage the Dynamic

The hardest part about this transformation is that you’re still not in charge. You might be a leader, you might be giving direction, but you’re still not the boss. Even if you get a fancy title like “Director of Communication” and a seat at the table and a parking spot, you still have to answer to your church’s leadership.

Communication at your church should evolve.

This can create a weird new dynamic.

You used to produce content. You kept your head down in your office and did your work. But now you’re interacting with leadership. You’re part of the long-term strategy. You stay up at night ranting about the decisions your pastor made that you don’t like.

Get used to it. Butterflies have problems caterpillars never did. (Hey, look at that! The metaphor came back around.)

You’ve become a leader. Congratulations. But you still serve your pastor. You need to learn how to manage that dynamic. You may have evolved into this wonderful butterfly, but you still have a lot to learn.

Embrace Your Metamorphosis

Different communicators are at different places in their journey:

  • You may have already gone through metamorphosis and you’ve been a leader for a while. Make sure you’re being a good one.
  • Maybe you haven’t evolved yet and you’re still taking direction. That’s OK. Even leaders still need to just get things done.
  • Maybe you’re still evolving, in that frustrating chrysalis place where you can see the need for strategy but you can’t implement it just yet.

It’s a process. You need to embrace your place in it.

Good communication evolves. It morphs from following to leading. It does less re-acting and more pro-acting.

A Word to Non-Leaders

Don’t feel like a leader? Suck it up little caterpillar, you’re destined to be a butterfly whether you like it or not. The reality is you’re growing—maybe more slowly than others, maybe so slowly you don’t realize—but you are going through metamorphosis. The fact that you’re even reading an article like this one on a site like this one shows that you want to grow and improve.

That’s good. Communication at your church should evolve. You may not think of yourself as a leader, but communication inherently involves leadership. Maybe you’re not the lead leader, maybe you’re leading up, but you are evolving.


This month has been all about leadership in our Courageous Storytellers Membership Site. Wherever you’re at in your metamorphosis, we’ve got resources that can help. Check out our video interview with Jeanette Yates, who transformed from a stay-at-home mom to a part-time church communicator to a communications director. Join today >>

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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