Church Communications: Taking Inventory
As church communicators, we have but one purpose: to share the gospel — the good news of Jesus Christ, so that God is glorified and His people edified.
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Church Communications NewsWhat Makes for a Great Church Creative/Communications Director? Church Communications: Taking Inventory Respect Through Communication: Show Love To Community In This Simple Way Why is Social Media in Ministry So Important?
Church Communications ResourceThe State of Church Communications: Report
For churches that are either looking into creating a comprehensive communications strategy, or planning for an overhaul of that strategy, this report will offer valuable insight.
Make Communication Disciples
Having taken inventory of needs and resources to relate to the people, mobilize to share your church’s story.
• Establish a small communications team to discuss and develop a public relations vision, including strategy and tactics for reaching your Samaria. Be intentional about including the preaching-teaching ministries, teens and collegians.
• Train teachers to design classes, so outsiders may easily connect by developing a template that can prompt themes discussed or hashtags that may be used in social media or online communications.
• Develop publication guidelines and deadlines for any ministry employing a speaker or performer. Use a speaker’s proposal submission form from a big conference.
• Teach your planners to use the guidelines and enforce deadlines. Having this information on the planning process reduces stress and expenses later.
You Gotta Have Style
While developing this external focus, it’s important to prepare the internal communications. I’ll go deeper into details in this area in subsequent articles, but there are three steps to take to prepare:
1. Create a publications stylebook to standardize graphics dimensions and content, spelling and punctuation (is it 6 AM, 6 a.m., 6am, 6 o’clock Am, or 6 AM in the morning?), point sizes — variations of these in the same publication miscommunicate;
2. Create a public information (or publicity) template based upon journalism basics — who, what, where, when, why, how — for classes, special events and sermons to be publicized. This information should be the minimum requirement from any group or individual wishing to request a church-sponsored activity, and should be presented before the events are approved.
In established churches, such details may seem unnecessary and frivolous. They are time-consuming, yet, they allow greater opportunities for teachers and pastors to understand the purpose of their presentations and, when shared with people outside, a greater opportunity to understand how Bible studies and sermons are practical.
Such templates also enhance the opportunity for obtaining outside publicity, by providing simple information for free media listings, to perhaps attracting a newspaper or radio story about your ministry.
What to Ask and Why
At the church where I served on staff for more than a decade, we developed templates for event planning and for Bible studies that were the basis for outside publicity. The templates were partly based upon the needs I wanted to know when I was a reporter, and what I needed to share as a connections pastor.
These queries were turned into quotes for the press releases, web copy, social media posts and other external information, and saved time, by not needing to hunt down information for bulletins, church newsletters and media monitors.
Here are some sample questions:
The Class Proposal that included these questions:
• Description Of Class (Theme of Program)
• Describe The People Whom This Class Intends to Reach (e.g., age, station-in-life, faith experience)
• How Will People Grow As A Result Of This Class?
• What Outside Groups May Need to Know About This Class?
For Event Planning, we requested this additional information:
• Guest Presenter/Group
• Organization and Position
• Speaker’s Background (e.g., Occupation, Former Ministry Work, Schooling)
• Speaker’s Web Address
• Photos: None _______ Included for Scanning _______ Electronic JPEG _____ Video _____
• How does this event connect with the vision: “developing a Family of Christ-Followers”?
The guidelines were all preparation to send the gospel the other ends of the earth through. Assembling and putting the data together took legwork – on two feet and seated – yet when in intentionally employed, members of our community and congregation have better relations with Christ, and each other.
In another post, we’ll outline techniques to disseminate this information among local media, schools and businesses. Jesus walked among them, too.
Latest ResourceWorship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.