3 Remedies for Unhealthy Church Communications

Church communications is one of the most important indicators of a church’s health and growth, yet it is also the most overlooked and underestimated part of stewarding the greatest message of all time: The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I recently consulted with a church that hired me to assist them in creating an effective social media strategy to reach their surrounding community. After the initial assessment I realized that implementing a social media strategy would be like putting lipstick on a pig: It would make an ugly situation even uglier.

I discovered that the church had a huge internal problem with their communications. I had to show them that if they didn’t care about their communication to the congregation that no one in the community would care either.

Here are 3 remedies I prescribed them that can help any church inject health back into their communications:

1. Get Your Staff on the Same Page

Your staff is probably aware of its current communication gaps and problems, yet no one it talking about it. That’s an issue! Getting your staff members to communicate effectively is the key to experiencing a breakthrough in external church communications. This conversation requires trust, honesty and transparency to be in the room. Remember, you will never improve something unless you are able to have a real discussion about the root of the problem.

Get feedback from your team about all the issues and write a list on a whiteboard so everyone can see them. Then take a poll by going around the room asking your staff to give you the three issues that stand out most to them. This process will identify what is commonly seen as problems by your staff.

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2. Revitalize Your Communication Channels

Churches are infamous for their outdated websites and stagnant social media accounts. These channels are today’s version of welcome mats for your church. They are frequently surfed by outsiders before they even think of darkening the door of your church on a Sunday. Two things you can address to revitalize your church’s welcome mats:

  • On Your Website: Guests visit a website more than a church’s regular attendees do, so redesign your website to be guest-friendly. Put all the vital information on the front page so visitors don’t have to be “lucky” to find it. A video promo on what guests can expect at your church would be a huge plus!
  • On Your Social Media: Delete social media accounts that aren’t active and don’t attempt to do them all. There are very few churches killing it on Pinterest. Capture the fun and real life of your church — don’t just post quotes and captions of sermons on picturesque backgrounds. Be creative and active, giving people a sneak peek of your church’s social life on social media.

3. Centralize Your Church Communications

Create a Communications Department. The idea of having an actual Creative Department is one of the newest and most necessary in the church today. Churches are not dying because they are lacking good information; they are dying because they are lacking good communication, both internally and externally. A quick glance at the bulletin usually tells who is handling the communications at a church:

Guess Who Did the Bulletin

  • All text in perfect columns? = The Accounting Department
  • 9 out of 10 blurbs are youth events? = Youth Pastor
  • 1995 clipart? = Office Manager who won’t let go of the bulletin
  • Colorful program you hold onto for 2 weeks? = Communications Director
  • No bulletin? = Twenty-something Millennial redeeming the planet

All kidding aside, a centralized communications department led by a Creative Communications Director can be a catalyst for momentum in all your ministry departments by setting a standard of excellence for all communication that is released.

These three remedies will bring your church communications back to health so that you deliver the greatest message of all time with creativity, care and concern.

Author Dean Deguara is an encourager of leaders at all levels on his blog at DeanDeguara.com. His posts have been featured on ChurchLeaders.com, SmallGroupChurches.com, and JesusCulture.com, and his articles featured in Enrichment Journal Magazine. He currently serves as the Director of Leadership Development at Jesus Culture in Sacramento.

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  • Chris Codding

    Can you give some more specific ideas and suggestions for “Be creative and active, giving people a sneak peek of your church’s social life on social media.”

    • Tim

      I can’t speak to what Dean was thinking specifically, but we take pictures at every event, encourage our people to check-in whenever they can, show our people serving, try to focus our vocabulary around community, and whatever else we can show that isn’t during the service.

      We still highlight Sunday morning a lot, but try to balance it with the rest of the week. I’m going to start posting volunteer, small group, and some other ministry highlights soon. Honestly, I’ve found that getting people to take a picture and check-in with the church works really really well.

      • Chris Codding

        Thank you Tim! I agree our church has a vital role in sharing what is going on at our church. I personally struggle with how to word things when posting images outside our service. It feels weird posting “Here is a small group….here is volunteers serving in Awana…” type things. To see examples would be helpful.

        • Monica Shannon

          “Here is volunteers serving in Awana” . . . LOL! I hear you.

          One way to deal with that is rely on photos. A great shot of a cozy small group or laughing volunteers needs little more than a caption, such as “Wednesday Night at 7:00.”

          • deandeguara

            Or you could say… Appreciate those who are investing in the next generation! #Awana

          • Monica Shannon

            Yes, that’s way better! 🙂 Thanks for chiming in.

          • deandeguara

            Good point!

        • deandeguara

          Think of it as though your are putting together a highlight reel…example if your building a set for Easter… You might post to Instagram with a photo of a someone hammering nails with a caption: “Thankful for the gifts of our crew that make our Easter service happen!”

        • Tim

          I assume (which is always dangerous, lol) that people can see what is going on in the picture. However, they don’t necessarily know why the picture matters. We have the opportunity to shape the significance of that moment for them. The example that Dean just gave is a perfect one.

          I don’t get to stand behind the pulpit every week, but by taking advantage of a simple thing as posting on social media, I have the opportunity to teach people how to see the world through the church’s eyes.

      • deandeguara

        Very good Tim! Exactly what I’m referring to.

      • Kim DeLaney Arthur

        I look at every communication outlet that our church has as an opportunity to disciple. So, how can you use the photo of Wednesday’s small group to teach? Maybe, help reinforce the gospel’s call for unity in Christ though the Kingdom is diverse or the priority of “one anothering” you see in Scripture.

    • deandeguara

      Take pictures and posts of what’s really going on at your church from the internal workings of the office to the external events as some mentioned below. Capturing staff moments, behind the scenes volunteers, etc. help communicate what’s happening between Sundays.

      • Mary

        so I’m curious are you in favor a church bulletin or not?

        • deandeguara

          It really depends on your church. Currently my church doesnt have a weekly program but our church started without one. We do print a quarterly magazine and depend a lot on email and social media.