Let’s Get Down to Business: How to Communicate the Boring

Let’s Get Down to Business: How to Communicate the Boring

January 8, 2018 by

Let’s be honest: There are some types of church communication that are less than exciting. Annual reports, financial statements, business meetings, and more. Some church communication is just plain boring.

Now there are people who will read your annual reports and attend your business meetings out of a sense of religious obligation (pun intended), but what about the other 98% of your congregation? How can you make some of these boring details more engaging? Here are a few things to think about when you absolutely have to get the word out about the less exciting parts of church life. (Note: I’ll focus on annual reports—my personal bane—but each principle can be applied to the other business you have to tell your church.)

One compelling story of a life changed by Jesus Christ can make your church business anything but routine.

1. What’s the Purpose?

Is your annual report meant to serve as a historical record for your church or merely to fulfill the requirements of being a nonprofit organization in your state? Is it something that you’ve “just always done” or is it used intentionally to celebrate successes?

There’s always value in taking time to reflect on struggles and successes. Even if your annual report feels lifeless or routine, there is an actual need it could meet in your church. Figure out that purpose, then plan your report around fulfilling it.

2. Who’s Your Audience?

It’s your church, right? Well, maybe not. Most church business is probably meant for the church, but if the primary purpose of your report is to celebrate your church’s victories over the past year, why not let your neighbors and visitors know?

An abridged version of your report with some pictures and infographics showing how your church has met your community’s needs could be appealing to people who want to know what you’re all about. As an added bonus, you’ll think differently when you’re writing for an audience outside your church. This could be an opportunity to see your church as your community sees it.

3. What’s the Appropriate Format?

My church has an annual report that contains dozens of pages of detailed budget and giving information, attendance, membership changes, births, deaths, plus a page or two from every ministry in the church. It’s… thorough. I had assumed that there were specific rules governing the content and format, but the only requirement is that there has to be an annual report. (It doesn’t even have to be printed, although I know my church well enough to know that digital-only is not an option yet.)

Our staff and lay leadership met recently to share about the good things we see happening in our church. As the conversation went on, I couldn’t stop thinking, “I wish the rest of our church could hear this!” Maybe an all-church event like a dinner to celebrate what God has done would serve the role of an annual report. (It would certainly be a lot more fun.)

4. Make It Personal

Don’t stop at the numbers. If you’re trying to explain why the youth ministries went over budget, for example, make sure people know who benefited as a result.

Tell the story: “We decided to pay for John to attend the missions trip because his family couldn’t afford it. John was so affected by the trip that he wants to go into full-time missionary work when he graduates.”

Wouldn’t you want to share a story like that if you had one? More to the point, would anybody care if the budget went over if that was the reason? If anything, people might be inspired to call for more money in the youth budget to allow for more teens to go on missions trips! Suddenly, a whole bunch of people care deeply about the numbers on the page of your annual report.

Whether it’s an annual report, a business meeting, or materials for a capital campaign, share who was or will be affected by the numbers and be as specific as possible. Whatever your church size, one compelling story of a life changed by Jesus Christ can make your church business anything but routine.

Business Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

It’s easy for the nitty-gritty business of your church to be boring. Some of that info can be dull and dry, but there are parts that are definitely not boring. Those annual reports and financial statements are talking about how God has worked in your church. Share and celebrate those stories.

More:

We collected some not-so boring examples of church business communication, from annual reports to capital campaigns, for our Courageous Storytellers Membership Site. Join the site now to get access to those examples.

Post By:

Marc Aune


Marc Aune has served as director of worship ministries for North Haven Church in North St. Paul, Minn., since 2004. Marc is a frequent reader, semi-regular tweet replier, and occasional commenter of this website, and he's still sad that Keith Green died way too soon.
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