By Jonathan Howe
Most, if not all, churches have a plan for their worship services. Hopefully your church has a plan for discipleship. And many churches have a long-range plan.
But what about how you communicate to members and guests? Do you have a plan for that? Here are four reasons you should have a communications plan in your church.
- Everyone knows their role and responsibility. Unless one person is handling all of the communications of a church, everyone on the team needs to know who is responsible for each channel. With Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters, Instagram, bulletins, phone calls, and more available to churches, it’s easy to see how communication could get confusing. A plan where everyone knows what they need to distribute and when it needs to go out helps align all of your communication channels.
- Fewer items fall through the cracks. Even when one person is in charge of all church communications, things get missed when there is no plan. Add in three or four other people, and that creates even more opportunities for things to fall through the cracks. Having a plan—and possibly a weekly checklist—allows you to be consistent with what, when, and where information goes out.
- Your communication is more strategic. If you lack a communications plan, you cannot be strategic with how you communicate. When you lack strategy, members and guests are less informed and less engaged. And with attendance waning in many churches, we should be doing everything possible to increase engagement from members.
- Members and guests benefit from consistency. Related to the previous point, having a communications plan that is consistent in distributing information about your church allows members and guests to become more engaged with your church. Engaged and informed members are more likely to attend and, as a result, grow in their faith. As for guests, moving them to membership is much more likely when their questions are routinely being answered before they have to ask them.
Next month, I’ll discuss the components of a strategic church communications plan. But for now, what other benefits do you see of having a strategic plan for your church communications?
Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week, and the managing editor of LifeWayPastors.com. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.
Thom, you left us hanging. I’m sure I’m not the only one who looks forward to reading the continuation.
One very important ingredient to communication within the church is that ALL staff members MUST participate.
One of the biggest pet peeves of a church secretary is a minister or staff person in the church who must be hounded to death weekly by the church secretary to turn in their weekly communique or other regularly printed pieces in time for them to make the scheduled printing. This is especially troubling with pieces that are a regular weekly ritual that the minister or staff person knows they must produce every single week. The secretary should not have to babysit these folks and beg for this material.
Another peeve is the minister or staff person that is so arrogant that think they are not accountable to anyone and therefore refuse to keep the secretary informed of their schedule so she knows, what days they will not be in, or where they are going and approximately when they will return. It is very embarrassing and represents very poor communication practices for the church overall and for the secretary to have to explain that they have no idea where they are, or when to expect them to return. Especially embarrassing in emergency situations.
Maybe we need some discussion on the importance of honoring and respecting the church secretary and receptionists and the congregation with some good old fashioned common courtesy. In many church’s it is the head secretary that is the glue that hold the ship together. Without them and their tenacity for detail the ship would sink.
Great information! Passing it on to my staff!!!!!!
Left me hanging too! Do we have to wait a month though?! I have a monthly chart where in post all the monthly events that need to be publicized and then check off in the columns the date that I have posted or scheduled them to be posted – FB, E-Newsletter, website and/or mobile app. Helps a lot!