We Resolve To IMprove
This is the time of year we make resolutions. I have to lose weight. This year I am reading the Bible cover to cover. I am going to go deeper in my prayer life. These are resolutions that have been made and most often broken by February 1st. It seems it is very easy to state good intentions of a resolution, but very difficult to keep consistent in fulfilling those promises to yourself.
The same is true when it comes to changes to communication management of the church. There are limited resources of time and money so when something has to go, it often is the big ideas of how to improve how we communicate inside and outside our church walls. Before long we are back in the old rut of bulletin announcements, flyers and talking about things from the pulpit and then wondering why the response is the same as last year or worse.
This year your resolution to improve communication needs to be something that can have several goals completed in small bites. As we have heard it said, "You can't eat an elephant in one sitting." Also the resolution should be something that rest on the shoulders of many, not just one (there is strength and accountability in numbers) and the resolution must have value to the church. This seems like a tall order but below are just a few to consider.
1. Start using social media > Keep it simple. You don't have to use every possible kind of social media. Facebook is a wise choice if you are just starting out. If you have Facebook under your belt and using it effectively consider adding another to your repertoire. Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter are all possibilities. Choose one. These can all be done in small bites. You can incorporate the church family into the effort and it will have value for the church in improving communication. Who knows there may actually be someone in your church that wants to run the whole thing.
2. Coherent identity materials > Things tend to slide over time when talking about identity materials. When I say identity materials I am talking about anything that carries the church's message. Tee shirts, newsletters, brochures, banners, ink pens, visitor give a ways, coffee mugs, welcome material and Sunday bulletin. The challenge is to gather up everything that the church produces and put it on a table. Then with the staff or ministry team, look at all of the items. Is it easily apparent that all of the items came from the same place? Think about color, the font chosen, logo use, slogan use. Is it obvious these all come from the same place? Again choose one item per month and with the teams help start up dating.
3. Webpage > This one can be tricky, because the church rarely runs there own site and if they do it is rarely updated and improved. This one usually takes some professional help unless you have a simple easy to update template based website. I would recommend contacting the person who built and maintains the site and find out how they are willing to help. If they are difficult, it maybe time to choose a different provider or do it yourself. A nice clean designed and updatable template based website is better than an old out of date one. Again, instead of reviewing the whole site at once, sit down with the staff or ministry team and discuss one page a week. Make changes and meet again to review. A fresh look and current information can make your website a resource for the church and community.
4. E-Newsletter > What year is it? Print is still around and has value but a newsletter that can be emailed to visitors, members and community members could have more impact. You may need a bit of help setting up a free e-newsletter template and mailing list (who to include), but once that is done it is easy to establish a monthly or quarterly newsletter. Again, get help find a few people that can write, give them guidelines and let them create. Your staff will operate as the editor, assisting with ideas and keeping everyone on schedule. Most of the content is the same as you currently produce it is just in a format that can be emailed.
5. Blog > With the best of intentions blogs of all sorts get started and then they fade as it becomes real work to update them. I visited one church's blog that had not been up dated for over 6 year. Blogs are useful as if they are tied in with the website, it can generate traffic so more people know about your church. It is also a great place to reach out with articles on the church's stance on controversial subject or deeper meanings of scripture. Content is the key! One thing about churches, we generate content. Every week we have communion meditations, sermons and Sunday school lessons. Often times these are used once, then put into a filing cabinet and never seen or heard again. Give them additional life by posting them on a blog. Blogs are up dated weekly so most ministers will need help by getting reminders from the staff for sermon notes. The staff should take charge in building content pulling commentary from elders, teacher, missionaries you support and the minister.
These are just some suggestions. If you need help fleshing any of these out, we at Speiro Communicationare more than happy to help. Our goal is to help sow seed for the Kingdom. By helping you with the above, we can do just that.