October 16, 2014

3 Ways To Transform Communication At Your Church


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Is anybody listening?

It’s the church communicator’s greatest fear — that important messages are lost in a sea of information and distraction.

Everyone’s communicating these days. Here are three thoughts to help yours stand out from the noise:

People don’t want to be told. They want to be helped. 

Though church communication must always push out details of services, events and classes, we must be intentional about offering the transformational along with the informational. Our services can’t be the only location where we establish the church as a place that cares about emotional and practical needs.

Start by establishing a ratio of information to inspiration: for every x times you post details about services or upcoming events, post content that speaks directly and practically to spiritual needs. Our church started with 5 to 1; this year we’ve raised that goal to 3 to 1. We commission posts from our own in-house bloggers, create minute-long, shareable clips from our messages, and pull content from other sources we trust.

This includes your website — if your home page is all about you and nothing about them, how will they know your services and people won’t be the same?

Your goal is readers who invite, not readers who are informed.

So people would rather be helped than told, but you’ve still got a lot of telling to do, right? Find the sweet spot and do both.

Invite people to a service with a personal story. Lead up to Easter with a post on simple ways to teach your kids about the resurrection. Put your key steps to engagement in a sharable format — the “Top Five Ways to Connect at First Church” — or promote a study with “4 Ways to Study the Bible,” including your class as an option.

We not only inform and help our people this way, we put something in their hands and Facebook feed worth sharing. And this must be our goal as church communicators — not readers who are just informed and who attend, but readers who share and invite.

Ask yourself — how can I package this so that people will want to pass it on?”

Advertising has become a “welcome mat,” not an open door.

Postcards and billboards and other forms of advertising can still be effective, but they’re no longer widely successful at getting unchurched people in the door. To try something new, people now demand a more personal invite — an authentic recommendation from someone or something they already trust.

You can stop advertising, or you can tailor and measure it differently.

Good advertising becomes a welcome mat of credibility placed down at the feet of friends and neighbors who will invite them to church — a way for them to make a connection of trust: Oh, I’ve heard of that place.

Great advertising also takes into account the desire to be helped rather than told: I’ve heard of that place, and they seem like they care.

In either case, advertising becomes secondary, and training your people to use your advertising to invite people becomes primary. Tell your church a postcard is coming in the mail, and ask them to use it to invite their neighbor. Let them know you’re doing an ad campaign that reaches friends of your fans on Facebook, and invite them to like your page so you can help tell their friends about Jesus.

Make it something they want to share, and you’ll have a whole crop of new communications volunteers, ready to help make your message personal and meaningful.

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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