This is part one of an irregular and indefinite journey. Follow Associate Editor Joshua Cody as he works to get a style guide together for his church.
There are probably plenty of you out there who have endeavored to create a style guide for your church. Maybe everyone was using different language to describe things, making tons of grammatical errors or just doing whatever they wanted when communicating. For anyone who either has or wants to get their church going with a style guide, I’d like to quasi-live-blog my progress in creating one.
Lots of people have things working against them—a culture that doesn’t value seamless communication, a senior pastor who isn’t on the same page or a thousand other difficulties. Fortunately, I’m in an organization that values excellence and communication, so I had a head start there. My first place to start was still communicating the need for a style guide. How could I make people who don’t give a lick about grammar care about a style guide?
I found some totally sweet style guides a couple other churches had done. Granger’s is pretty much the grand daddy of them all, so they’re a great place to start. We weren’t looking for something this extensive, but it was a good visual for people to take a look at.
Then, with some help from the Church Marketing Lab, I came up with a plan. You can read the whole thing for a better idea, but essentially I told my church staff a couple stories to show the importance of a strong brand, compared inconsistent theology to inconsistent style and let them know I wouldn’t be a grammar Nazi.
The verdict? Total support.
So from there, I e-mailed the staff with some questions. I didn’t want to overwhelm them with a ton of stuff, so I asked only two:
- What communication mistakes (grammatical, word choice, etc.) have you seen made most often, especially by new staff?
- What do you feel would be helpful to include in a style guide for our church so we can communicate cohesively and effectively?
I’ve got some great responses, and I’ve been compiling a simple text file with people’s responses combined with my observations. From here, it’s a matter of organization and implementation, and I’ll be sure to keep you along for the ride.
Check out part 2 of Creating a Church Style Guide.