The corporate world has been in the ‘communications business’ for years. The church world is just beginning the acquaintance. As Darrel Girardier puts it, churches often have a knowledge gap about communication tools and how best to put them into practice.
As a corporate communicator now church communicator, Girardier has a rare perspective. His excellent podcast about his first three years on the church staff has talking points that we all can learn from.
We’d like to give you a shortcut to developing your core communications strategy by offering you our spin on Girardier’s points for your consideration.
Jack of all trades, master of none
In the beginning, many pastors will want to deal directly with all church communications. While this is a natural tendency, it is most likely a recipe for disaster.
A pastor cannot be everywhere doing everything.
What is MORE EFFECTIVE is partnering with a “Communications Manager” (church elder or layperson). Together, pastor and CM can deal with the (usually) difficult task of getting everything set up. As your church develops and fine tunes its communication template, things become easier.
Some pastors will want to totally ‘farm out’ the communications responsibilities. This is also not recommended. One important reason is because people respond more to a ‘face’; in this case, the pastor.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
Total leadership buy-in to the communications strategy is critical from Day 1. We can’t emphasize this enough! EVERYONE in leadership roles will need to be 100% committed to this methodology and convinced that with God’s grace, it will do what it needs to do. Without a total ‘on board’ factor, it will be extremely difficult to build an effective communications platform and carry it out efficiently.
When in Rome…
In the corporate world, it is easy to assess the resources for communications campaigns. Everything is measured in terms of ‘growth’—that is, revenue or projected revenue. So, if a product is expected to earn X, we can budget the communications campaign at Y, etc.
In the church world, it’s not so straightforward. Girardier describes church growth as CAB (Cash on hand, Attendance in pews, and Buildings built). Planning an evangelistic event? How much will it increase the CAB? It may not be possible to even GUESS at the answer!
However, this type of ‘business’ assessment is necessary in order to use communication resources in the best way possible. So, what you CAN do is take a good look at communication aspects of the event to get an idea of the overall benefit vs. the cost. These aspects include:
- How many people do you estimate will attend?
- What are the steps involved in informing them about this event?
- How many working hours will each step take to accomplish?
- How much money will need to be spent?
A CM’s job is never done
In the corporate world, there is an end to most work days. In the church world, there is always something going on. This means that communications managers will need to develop their own schedules, their own ‘cut off’ points, and stick to them.
Too many cooks spoil the broth
There are many people who think that they’re experts in communications, especially when it comes to filming and using videos. While it’s great to get good advice, it’s important to support the advice and decisions of the CM (who should remember it’s not personal and develop a ‘thick skin’).
You can’t always judge books by their covers
Be aware that there are many ‘questionable’ companies out there who are looking to ‘get rich quick’ off of churches. Having said that, there are LOTS of honest, reliable organizations who are giving excellent products with superb service in return for the payment they receive.
Take the time to thoroughly check things out. Ask questions. If you don’t understand the answers, ask again. Remember that as the buyer, you have the upper hand. Use it to get the value your church deserves.
It’s important to remember that in today’s noisy world, content creation means less than it once did.
Thinking about HOW that content is produced and then shared is actually a better use of your time…assuming that your intention is to reach The World.
We’re really interested to hear YOUR core communications tips and answer any questions on your minds. Please leave us a comment or question in the comment space below.
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