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A Prayer for Church Communication Professionals

March 25, 2008 by

I had lunch last week with an art director from one of the larger well-known churches in southern California. This guy (I’ll call him Brian) oozes sincerity and has a real passion for seeing people–especially those in the 25 to 35-year-old crowd–get to know Jesus. Although Brian works at a church now, his background is in the corporate media world, including a stint at Disney. Brian could get a job anywhere making many times what he’s making now, but he chooses to be where he is at because he wants to see the church get better at communication.

When you meet Brian and hang with him for more than a minute, you are immediately drawn to his let-it-all-out persona. He’s dramatic, insightful and has little tolerance for crummy church communication. Brian is deeply frustrated with his own church for their apparent disregard for improving and, although he has been there for a couple years, he is at the end of his rope. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his resignation any day.

My heart goes out to people like Brian as I know he’s not alone. And while it’s easy for me to criticize and condemn, I’m trying to get better at laying this stuff at the feet of Jesus.


Would you pray with me for:

  • People like Brian to find peers that will encourage and inspire them in the midst of their struggle to see the church communicate better. (I’m grateful for places like the Church Marketing Lab that are facilitating this online and offline.)
  • Senior church leadership to do less talking and more listening when it comes to knowing the best way to communicate.
  • Church councils and budget committees to see the value of investing in good communication (technology, staff, printing, etc.).
  • Communication directors/managers that might be overdue for a transition. Just because they’ve been doing it forever doesn’t mean God wants them doing it forever.

    Feel free to comment if you want to add to this prayer …

  • Post By:

    Brad Abare


    Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it. He and his wife Jamaica live in Los Angeles with their daughter, Miró.
    Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

    19 Responses to “A Prayer for Church Communication Professionals”

    • Rich Kirkpatrick
      March 25, 2008

      Creative professionals who work for churches live a life of pain. You are a student of culture, and the seminary grads sometimes think that is not very important. I was in communications for several years and oversee artists and musicians in a church. You are spot on. Our communities need clear messages that connect and are effective. We don’t even know how to do inside communications most of the time, let alone outside.
      I pray with you on this as this kind of stuff is my daily struggle and passion–to see our churches be a place creative pros can actually partner with!!


    • Sam
      March 25, 2008

      I am also an AD with a very similar background and recent experience as “Brian.” His frustration mirrors my own.
      It is my constant prayer to keep my larger purpose in mind and keep striving to pursue excellence in spite of the frustration that many of us share.
      God’s message will never fail because of our mediocrity, but shouldn’t we always pursue excellence to demonstrate that we share in his desire?


    • Brian Jones
      March 25, 2008

      Brad,
      I would also add to the prayer that for Senior Pastors like myself to get out of the way and let gifted people do their jobs.


    • Charlotte
      March 25, 2008

      I’m in a very similar situation to Brian’s. I’ve worked for a church, currently work for a ministry, and it’s a very frustrating place to be.
      May God work in and through the creatives and the people they work for, to be glorified.


    • Tim Cote
      March 25, 2008

      This problem is not something unique to the church. The marketing, or sales departments in most organizations are smaller than operations (production, transportation, ministry) departments and therefore tend to have less clout with ultimate decision makers.
      Combine that with the accounting departments fear of scaring off big customers (tithers) by stepping out of the tried and true box of the past and the marketing person’s existance can be a bit lonely at times.


    • Paul Carlson
      March 26, 2008

      I’d like to pray for my peers out there, that God would just continue to use them, and that he’d provide experiences that encourage their hearts, souls, and minds – experiences that remind them why they’re doing what they do.
      After being in a similar situation myself, I had lost the fire for a while, but God’s been getting pretty dang close with that flamethrower he’s chasing me around with. ;)
      hang in there, “Brian.” I’ll be praying for you.


    • No one of consequence
      March 26, 2008

      Spot on. I very nearly got myself fired for blogging my unfiltered opinion(s). I’ve stopped blogging entirely for now. My environment leaves me completely uninspired and totally frustrated. Pray hard everyone. Pray hard.


    • Milan Ford
      March 26, 2008

      And God, please give me (as a church communicator) the patience to know that my way is not as important as knowing your way.
      May the abilities you’ve given me never be used to point the “right” way to others, but rather to walk with others towards the way you have given us as one.


    • keith
      March 27, 2008

      Some of us at smaller congregations would love to have a person to help with communication and design. Maybe he should look at ways he could demonstrate the effectiveness of communication that he would like to use by offering it for free to smaller congregations that would appreciate it. He has a duty to convince the board/pastors the effectiveness much as he would if he were at disney or some other corporate entity.


    • Sean Salter
      March 27, 2008

      Free work… Free work is rarely, rarely ever appreciated, especially when its asked to be done for free.


    • David
      March 28, 2008

      I agree with Sean about free work. If “Brian”s job is anything like our graphic designer’s at our church, he doesn’t have time to even think about giving work away for free.
      When you have a small staff, a huge church where every ministry is asking for anything from posters to flyers to DVD labels, PLUS having a family life outside of work, it’s tough. You run at a breakneck speed and people wonder why you don’t have time to help them.
      I’m thankful my work doing video production at the church isn’t quite THAT stressful.


    • Joseph
      March 28, 2008

      My pastor is a creative mind, but it’s the administrative staff that destroys anything I try to do. We redesigned the bulletins to have am ore ‘magazine’ feel, yet the secretaries disregard everything and make their crappy ‘church secretary’ looking stuff. It’s really strange to read our bulletins — you see a professional, slick shell with the most crap-tacular and tacky MS Publisher nonsense on the inside.


    • Adunate Word & Design
      March 29, 2008

      To Pastor Brian Jones: As a professional graphic designer, I thank you for your prayer above!
      Churches are my business niche, particularly fund appeals, and many times I face the issue of the pastor, committee, or staff unable to accept professional advice – advice that would easily enable them to better communicate their message of Christ.
      To be fair, this is problematic not only in churches – other industries can be guilty of this as well. Yet, a church’s message is far more important! It’s vital that churches do whatever it takes and whatever it costs to effectively communicate the saving gospel of Christ.
      My prayer is that churches recognize the importance of their communication.


    • Adunate Word & Design
      March 29, 2008

      To Pastor Brian Jones: As a professional graphic designer, I thank you for your prayer above!
      Churches are my business niche, particularly fund appeals, and many times I face the issue of the pastor, committee, or staff unable to accept professional advice – advice that would easily enable them to better communicate their message of Christ.
      To be fair, this is problematic not only in churches – other industries can be guilty of this as well. Yet, a church’s message is far more important! It’s vital that churches do whatever it takes and whatever it costs to effectively communicate the saving gospel of Christ.
      My prayer is that churches recognize the importance of their communication.


    • Adunate Word & Design
      March 29, 2008

      To Pastor Brian Jones: As a professional graphic designer, I thank you for your prayer above!
      Churches are my business niche, particularly fund appeals, and many times I face the issue of the pastor, committee, or staff unable to accept professional advice – advice that would easily enable them to better communicate their message of Christ.
      To be fair, this is problematic not only in churches – other industries can be guilty of this as well. Yet, a church’s message is far more important! It’s vital that churches do whatever it takes and whatever it costs to effectively communicate the saving gospel of Christ.
      My prayer is that churches recognize the importance of their communication.


    • Adunate Word & Design
      March 29, 2008

      To Pastor Brian Jones: As a professional graphic designer, I thank you for your prayer above!
      Churches are my business niche, particularly fund appeals, and many times I face the issue of the pastor, committee, or staff unable to accept professional advice – advice that would easily enable them to better communicate their message of Christ.
      To be fair, this is problematic not only in churches – other industries can be guilty of this as well. Yet, a church’s message is far more important! It’s vital that churches do whatever it takes and whatever it costs to effectively communicate the saving gospel of Christ.
      My prayer is that churches recognize the importance of their communication.


    • Adunate Word & Design
      March 29, 2008

      To Pastor Brian Jones: As a professional graphic designer, I thank you for your prayer above!
      Churches are my business niche, particularly fund appeals, and many times I face the issue of the pastor, committee, or staff unable to accept professional advice – advice that would easily enable them to better communicate their message of Christ.
      To be fair, this is problematic not only in churches – other industries can be guilty of this as well. Yet, a church’s message is far more important! It’s vital that churches do whatever it takes and whatever it costs to effectively communicate the saving gospel of Christ.
      My prayer is that churches recognize the importance of their communication.


    • Adunate Word & Design
      March 29, 2008

      To Pastor Brian Jones: As a professional graphic designer, I thank you for your prayer above!
      Churches are my business niche, particularly fund appeals, and many times I face the issue of the pastor, committee, or staff unable to accept professional advice – advice that would easily enable them to better communicate their message of Christ.
      To be fair, this is problematic not only in churches – other industries can be guilty of this as well. Yet, a church’s message is far more important! It’s vital that churches do whatever it takes and whatever it costs to effectively communicate the saving gospel of Christ.
      My prayer is that churches recognize the importance of their communication.


    • Noreen
      April 3, 2008

      Gosh, friends, maybe I’m in “church Art Director heaven,” but I don’t share your frustrations! Why? I think it’s mostly a matter of collegiality and respect. I find that my pastors respect me as a professional and see me as an equal. In the same way they might pastor me through a knotty passage of scripture, they allow me to “pastor” them through challenging communication problems. I think they see my passion for professional, top-notch design and writing as part and parcel of our larger passion: helping people follow Jesus. I guess if I had anything to offer in terms of how we arrived at this kind of working relationship, I’d say:
      a. They’re a great and savvy group of people. I’m blessed.
      b. pray together every chance you get, and pray for THEM yourself.
      c. let them see your passion for Jesus and how it plays out in your creative work.
      d. “be completely humble and gentle . . .” many people are intimidated by creatives. Really.
      (BTW, I have experienced all the frustration I read about in this thread, but interestingly, only in my secular jobs.)



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