Recently I was visiting a church in the heart of a retirement community. The pastor got up and was astoundingly relevant. “There are five ways we tell you what’s going on here.” He held up his hand and counted on his fingers: “The bulletin, the sign, the website, our mailer and announcements.” He paused and then joked, “If you still don’t know what’s going on, then I have a hunch you’re just not with it!”
I don’t know if this was the pastor’s typical practice, but as a guest, it was a huge leg up in knowing where to find the information about how to get involved.
Your church may have stellar events, programs and even great communication strategies, but the best laid plans can get derailed by the simple lack of clearly and concisely communicating how you communicate.
There is no better way to complement the work you’ve done in crafting a focused, strategic communications plan for your church than to pair it with a plan to regularly communicate to the congregation where to access information. Tell them how you communicate.
Here are some of the best practices for keeping your audience connected:
- Have one channel that communicates everything you need people to know. Websites are ideal main channels. They should be well managed and updated often. All other channels should receive their information from this channel to maintain consistency. It should be the first channel you update with new or changed information.
- Plan to communicate your channels once a month from the platform. Promote your main channel every week from the platform and in your program/bulletin.
- Use each channel to make people aware of other avenues your church uses to communicate. For example, a Facebook post can encourage people to sign up for an email newsletter.
- Communicate these avenues to your leaders even more regularly and help them understand what you promote through what channels and why you handle communications the way you do (reasons will be varied for every church).
- Communication is a two-way street; be sure to also define the channels that the church can communicate back to its leadership and make them known.
Communicating how you communicate will ensure everyone has access to your information from your most senior member to your newest guest. Putting a strategy together to communicate how you communicate and where to receive pertinent information will add tremendous value to every other strategy you have in place.Photo by Cargo Cult