Leadership

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Church’s Communications

Leadership

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Church’s Communications

There was a moment of silence.

Not the type of silence that deafens a room during a memorial service. Nor the kind of silence preceding a lame scare tactic in a movie. But the type of deafening silence that fills the room when you’re waiting for feedback from your manager.

He hates it. 

He’s going to hate me. 

I’ll need to look for another job.

These exaggerated thoughts didn’t necessarily run through my head. But they do capture an element of what I was thinking.

Honestly, I don’t recall the specific task I was working on. But the feedback I received stuck to me like a Velcro ball to a Velcro mitt. And it went something like this: “Tell people exactly what you’re talking about.”

Fighting two devils

Clear communication is a difficult task, especially within the church.

Christian communicators wrestle with the temptation to use Christian clichés, $20 theological words, and pithy Christian platitudes while fighting the pressure to be hip, fresh, and relevant. It’s like trying to think straight when you have a devil on both of your shoulders telling you what to do.

Crafting clear messages is one of the most critical tasks of the church. Connecting the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Bible to the Average Joe sitting in the pew is of eternal importance.

Here are five practices to help you craft clear, concise, and compelling messages for your communications.

1. Define your audience

Focus your communication on your audience.

Defining your audience will help you to best connect with them by communicating in such a way that is helpful for them. To do this, you must let the second greatest commandment guide your communication (Matt. 22:36-40). Serve your audience. Answer their questions. Meet their needs. And communicate with them in such a way that they can easily understand what you’re saying.

Unless your church has a regional, national, or international reach, your audience is your community. And you must have the people of your church in mind when sharing any message.

Here are some questions you can ask to help you best understand the people in your congregation and community:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What is their gender?
  • How old are they?
  • What is their profession? Are they currently employed?
  • What is their level of education?

These are just some preliminary questions to ask. So use them as a launching pad for defining your audience.

2. Keep it simple

Strive for simplicity in your messaging.

Focus on one big idea and assume that your audience doesn’t understand what you’re talking about. Banish jargon, insider language, and theologically loaded terms that need an advance Bible degree to define.

For instance, don’t haphazardly use the word sanctification without explaining it. First, most people probably don’t know what you’re talking about. And second, many people may have a different understanding of what the word means than what you do.

After you're done preparing any message, place yourself in your audience’s shoes. Walk in them. Feel them. Learn to think and talk like them. Read what you wrote out loud to see if it makes any sense.

3. Stay brief

People consume content much like animals forage for food. They are hungry and in search of something to eat, which means people will not read what you write word-for-word. They will not listen to your entire announcement. And they will not watch your whole video.

They have limited time and short attention spans. So quickly tell them what you want to tell them, which leads us to the next point.

4. Front load your message

Tell people what they need to know up front.

Avoid burying your one big idea in the depths of a story, supporting information, or God forbid, a terrible joke. Preceding the one thing you need people to know with something else will lead your audience to tune you out and miss what you want them to read, see, or hear.

Let your audience know your one big idea up front. Then you can provide whatever details you think they need to know.

5. Be informed

Christian communicators need to be informed to inform.

Communication directors, leads, or volunteers need to possess some level of biblical literacy. Now, we're not suggesting that everyone who posts something for your church on social media needs to have a graduate degree. But we are proposing that whoever oversees your church's communication should consume a regular does of the Bible and Christian literature.

Better understanding the Bible will help marketers and communicators better share what God has shared with us through the Bible.

In the words of Tim Schrader, co-editor of Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication, “Do all you can to make sure your church isn’t speaking in tongues so that people can hear the message of the gospel clearly and ultimately connect with Christ.”

Expert Tips on How to Effectively Launch a New Online Giving Tool

01
Make it accessible so people can give in the way that is most comfortable to them. Don't make it hard for people to give money.
Some people like to give online, some like mobile, some like text. Whatever they like, let them give in that way if you can.
02
Brady Shearer
www.storytape.com
Talk about it every single week. Consistently promote it on every platform. 
Be patient. We all resist change.
03
Michael Lukaszewski
www.churchfuel.com
Launch it to your staff, your leaders, and your volunteers (in that order) and help those groups use it before you launch it publicly.
04
Teach it in your new member class.
Allow for people to sign-up right on the spot via their mobile phone (or through a laptop or iPad for those that don't have a mobile device handy).
05
Justin Dean
www.thatcc.com
On launch weekend, have volunteers and staff accessible with iPads to walk people through how to set up an account and get recurring giving configured.
06
Daniel Irmler
www.churchhero.com
On a regular basis, tell stories from members who are using and loving it. 
You don't don’t need a big production value shoot. Keep it simple by using an iPhone (horizontal) and a decent mic.
07
Invite your congregation to take out their phones and download the mobile giving app right in the service.
08
Nik Goodner
www.crtvchurch.com
Explain the why behind the change and highlight the benefits of the new system. 
People like to be "on the team".
09
Kevin Ekmark
www.church.org
I always tell people, "you need to clean your house before you invite friends over". It's crucial that your giving platform is easily found, whether it's on the web or in the church. 
On the web, making sure that your website is mobile friendly (Google and Bing both recommend mobile responsive design) can be a huge help. You can also incorporate bots from Facebook or a service like Intercom to help walk people through online giving on your website. When necessary, a human can jump in and help too. This helps complete the process from being found online to completing the online giving.
10
Logan Fields
www.theappguys.org
Tell them the real reasons. Giving members are concerned with what's best for the church and not just what they individually prefer. Transparency.
"This platform will allow us to better manage finances and spend less staff time on the books and more on people." etc. The temptation is to treat members like consumers who we need to impress instead of team members. Treat them like equals who you assume are interested in what's best for the church/ mission and people will likely rise to it.
11
Kenny Jahng
www.kennyjahng.com
Launch a $3.16 campaign. Ask people to all give just $3.16 to a weekly or bi-weekly blessing fund. Then, pick one person or cause to bless IN TOWN and go give that person all the money collected.
  • It could be the all volunteer firefighter squad in town. "We'll take all the $3.16's collected and go buy a meal or treat and drop off for the firefighters who volunteer."
  • It could be a widow the church knows about - bless her with something new for her home or hobby or pets.
  • Single mothers - supply them with a night out. Or pay for a house cleaner or a handyman for a couple of hours.
  • Special needs families - pay for evening out for the parents and child care for the special needs kids so the parents get a break.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
This works incredibly well because you are teaching generosity / outward posture to your people on a consistent basis and getting people to give on mobile- while making it about PARTICIPATION vs AMOUNT. You'll have people regularly trying out the mobile option as well as pre-register them in the system.

There you have it! Some amazing tips, right?

Which tip stood out the most to you … or looked to be the craziest?! Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

Tithe.ly

Tithe.ly powers mobile, text, and web giving for
churches and ministries.

LEARN MORE
Sign Up

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Church’s Communications

Tithe.ly

Tithe.ly powers mobile, text, and web giving for
churches and ministries.

LEARN MORE
Sign Up