Your Most Important Lesson in Church Communication

I’ve worked with hundreds of churches over the years, helping them communicate more effectively with their community, and many times on an even bigger scale. Today, there are small churches who impact people within a few blocks of their location, medium sized churches who can impact a city, and large churches with a global impact. But whatever your church’s size or influence, I’d love to know one of the most important lessons you’ve learned about church communication.

I’m curious to see the diversity of ideas from this blog community. So use the comment box below, and tell me the single most important idea or principle you’ve learned when it comes to church communication…

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Wrap your ‘no’ in a bigger ‘yes’. Context: I am the gatekeeper of all communication requests.

    When juggling the ongoing number of requests for announcements, only those with the widest audience relevance, or mission critical focus should be approved.

    So for the rest I have to wrap their ‘no’ in a bigger ‘yes’. I repoint them to a communications channel that will serve them most effectively (while not being a platform announcement). More here http://www.stevefogg.com/2014/09/30/effective-church-announcements/

  • Maryjo Petersen Castro

    When making decisions on the how and what is being communicated to the church and community, the first thing that should be considered is how the audience will respond to the message. Look at it from their perspective. See it through their eyes. Step outside the frame, turn around and view the whole picture for the benefit of others. It’s difficult to see the whole picture inside a frame.

  • Allen Hendrix

    Unlike (most) church staff members, only a small percentage of regular church attenders are keenly aware of what goes on at their church at large. Most are focused on the area of ministry they are most connected to. For instance, parents are connected to info pertaining to their kids. Retired folks don’t care so much about Preschool, Children or Student Ministry, until their grandkids visit one or two weekends a year. I have learned to consider more the “Life Stage” of the audience when not only crafting the message, but also when designing the delivery method. Not everyone wants to know everything.

    • So true Allen. Far too many churches overwhelm the congregation with information. Simplify, simplify… Thanks for the thought!

      • Allen Hendrix

        People read captions, not column inches. It’s sad but true. Try this: Post some interesting copy that’s 250 words on Facebook and look at the engagement level the next day. Then exactly a week later and at the same time of day, post an edited version of that same copy (down to 75 to 100 words) WITH an image. I’ll bet you a lunch that the post with the picture will have at least 5 times the engagement.

        • MrsG

          That’s a brilliant tip, Allen. I’ve done this with e-newsletter content as we’re not on Facebook, but same story.

  • paul dzubinski

    Creative repetition of a biblical concepts build understanding and acceptance… But if it’s retold w/o much variety it dies

    • I agree – Retelling is vital Paul. That’s a basic educational principle that not enough communication director’s understand.

  • Dawn Shaffer Kvigne

    Already said here, but still probably the most important is to know your AUDIENCE. If you can’t bridge the gap between them and your message, you’re wasting your time.

  • MrsG

    Tone of voice (both written and spoken) and “relate-ability” make a huge difference for our audience. For example, what Phil wrote above “I’d love to know…” is more engaging than “Share below…”. See it works, I’ve responded! :D

  • Kem Meyer

    One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, and am still learning, about church communication is that we try to communicate too much, try to be too clever and create too many hurdles for the people we’re trying to “help.” The more time we spend curating and pruning content that already exists (versus creating new content), the more effective-and helpful-our communication can be.

    • Russ Egbert

      I would back that up to the fact that we try to do too much, period. Take a moment and look at your communication, media or social calendar…so many ways to change the world! Stay strong, my friends.