What's in this session?

  • The DM (0:21)
  • Job description (2:03)
  • Pillar #1: Grand vision (2:54)
  • Pillar #2: Communication shift (4:35)
  • Pillar #3: Attention (6:15)
  • Pillar #4: Seize the 167 (6:30)
  • Pillar #5: Success stories (8:15)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: Well, hey there. Welcome to Pro Church Daily. The show where in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get a daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we try to navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills. Joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today, we’re talking about why your church needs a communication director.

Brady Shearer: Got a DM from a person in Pro Church Nation, Alex. It reads as follows. I need an article that is persuasive in nature that has factual reasons of why it’s worth investing $40,000 to $50,000 per year into the salary of a Communications Director for our church. We’re that middle sized church that is slowly progressing.

Let me just start by saying that you as a church don’t necessarily need to hire a Communications Director. For instance, Alex is a pastor at a church of about 100. He has assumed the role of Communications Director. A lot of churches are going to do that. When we say you need a Communications Director, you’ve got two options. Hire one, or someone has to become it. Or, you have to pool the job of Communications Director together, different people assuming different parts of the responsibility.

The reason Pro Church tools exist, seize the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service. 168 hours a week, one hour of those is your church service. If you have nobody or no one at all working with those 167 hours, you are in serious trouble. You’re putting your church in a vulnerable position. Maybe the best option for you is to hire someone. The other option, learn it yourself, but you can’t not learn these things. Otherwise, as we’re going to get to, you’re going to be in trouble.

Alex Mills: My visceral reaction to the title of this episode, why your church needs a Communications Director. My visceral reaction was like, well, you don’t. That was because of my context, but then immediately I realized, well wait. I became that Communications Director-

Brady Shearer: You did.

Alex Mills: Because I’m the pastor and-

Brady Shearer: Congratulation. You played yourself.

Alex Mills: Right, and so I totally played myself, and the answer is, you do need one, and this is why you need one.

Brady Shearer: Hire one, or become one. Here are the reasons why. Firstly, let’s define Communications Director. This is a job description that I found from Fishhook. Respect to the team over at Fishhook. We’ve got a link in the show notes to this full Communications Director position and the job description. Here’s how they would define it. The Communications Director will create, organize, plan and implement effective communication messages and strategies for and with church and community audiences. The individual will support church and ministry leaders in convening their vision and communication priorities to appropriate audiences. There’s a lot of fancy language there. Basically, anything that your church is known for or says to the world, Communications Director. In a world where we are spending so much time digital and online, this is becoming more and more important.

Let’s talk about five pillars for explaining to your pastor why you need a Communications Director. Pillar number one. Anytime you want to convince your pastor of anything, what you need to do is link your need, your desired need to the church’s grand vision and demonstrate how this expense will return multiple times over in ROI. If you are proposing hiring a church Communications Director that’s going to cost $50,000 per year, how is that going to return many times over that ROI, directly translated to the church’s vision or mission?

Here’s a helpful question to ask yourself and to ask your pastor to ask your team. What would our church look like if our Sunday service did not exist? If we didn’t have a Sunday service, what would our church look like? What would we be appearing as online? Because now all we have is our website, and our social media platforms, and what we’re posting. If you took away our Sunday service entirely, what would we be known for? Because here’s the thing. According to the best data we have, this is coming from church leaders, only about 23% to 25% of Americans show up to church at least three out of every eight Sundays, and for most countries around the world, especially the UK, Australia, Canada, that’s even lower. Ask yourself, what does our church look like to the vast majority of our community, and even those in our church who are barely coming, not even every other week? For those people, what does our church look like? Most of them aren’t coming to church every week, the vast majority. Then, even three out of four aren’t coming even three out of every eight Sundays. What do we look like to them? How are we reaching them? How are we fulfilling and accomplishing our mission outside of a single one hour Sunday service? First thing to consider.

Pillar number two. I actually never said this before. Now, I say it a lot. We’re living through the biggest communication shift in the last 500 years. If we ever needed a Communications Director it’s now.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: Here’s a helpful question to ask. We’re talking about questions to just stimulate conversation and discussion within your team. How would we accomplish our church’s mission if our Sunday service didn’t exist? Here’s an interesting story. In the early 2000s, the colossal company of Blockbuster was approached by a small, not really successful company known as Netflix. Netflix said, Blockbuster, will you please buy us? We are renting DVDs through the mail to people. You rent DVDs. Maybe you’d like us. Blockbuster said, hah, hah, hah, little one. We have no need for you. Be gone. If the companies of Blockbuster, Sears and Toys-R-Us had asked themselves the questions, how would we rent movies, sell appliances, and sell toys if our physical spaces did not exist, they probably would not all be extinct right now.

Our churches need to begin asking the question, how would we accomplish our mission statements of helping people to love God, love others and make disciples if our Sunday services didn’t exist? Because we have seen with other industries, physical spaces gone. I don’t think that’s going to happen completely with churches, but that does not mean that we are not going to be influenced by these things. We need to ask that question.

Alex Mills: That’s so good.

Brady Shearer: Pillar number three. Attention is the most valuable commodity your church can possess. Attendance trends within church, we’re going to get to in a moment. 23% to 25% of the people in America attending church three out of every eight Sundays, so even those attending, not even every other week. If attention is the most valuable commodity your church can possess, where is attention being paid? It is being paid less and less in our buildings where were meeting on weekends. What are you doing with the other 167?

Pillar number four. Let’s get to that. Seize the 167 hours beyond your Sunday service. Here’s a fun question to ask. How much of our budget and creative resources do we spend on our weekly experience?

Alex Mills: By fun you meant, frightening, right?

Brady Shearer: Yeah. That’s a really thin line between those two things. How much of our budget and creative resources, volunteers, mental energy, are we spending on this one hour experience? Because think about this. According to Barna, 2 out of 10 millennials consider church attendance important. Currently that demographic is the largest demographic in the American workforce. Do millennials hate God, and hate spirituality? No. They just don’t consider church attendance that important. How are you going to reach those individuals and accomplish your mission if they’re not coming to you? Maybe a Communications Director could help with that.

But what about those young, entitled millennials? Our church is a little older. Well, consider this. According to Google, for boomers and seniors, they spend an average of 19 hours per week online. With the average person, and I’m being generous, spent an hour per week in church, at least even for those boomers and seniors, 20 times more time online.

Alex Mills: 20 times.

Brady Shearer: … than in your church. 20 times. But lets drop that 10K on the stage design. Oh, wow, okay. Sorry. Let’s move on. 95% of Gen Z, the generation after millennials. They’re even worse than we are. 95% use YouTube. 50% say they can’t live without YouTube, according to Adweek. If present trends continue, according to church leaders, the percentage of population that attends church in America in 2050, estimated to be almost half of attendance in the 1990s, a drop from 20.4% to 11.7%, church attendance declining. All attention, young and old, being paid online. If you are not paying attention to that you are putting yourself and your church in a vulnerable position.

Final pillar. One of the best ways to convince your pastor is just to share success stories-

Alex Mills: … of course.

Brady Shearer: … of other churches. I’m not talking about Elevation, and Hillsong, and Bethel. Of course, they’re crushing it. I’m talking about the everyday normal church of 100 or fewer, of 350 or fewer. We’ve got a number of Pro Church daily episodes that catalog these success stories. Episode number 141, a small church using Facebook Live and growing 42% in six months. Episode number 121, a millennial pastor using blogging on YouTube to grow his church. Episode number 87, how a church of 150 got 241 new visitors using Facebook Ads. These are all small churches, some in America in Midwest, some in America in Arizona, some in the UK, all over the world, not big churches. These things are possible.

Is there anything you’d like to say after I went through that rant?

Alex Mills: Absolutely not. No. I think and I mentioned at the beginning of the episode, even my subconscious as a pastor of a smaller, local church, we don’t have it in the budget to hire a Communications Director, but subconsciously I knew that I had to become that person. Because, I know just in living life with our community, that at least 20 times the attention is being payed somewhere else and not in our Sunday service. That’s not to devalue what we do on Sundays or whatever day of the week you meet as a church. It’s not to say it’s worth any less, but those other 167 hours are becoming worth so much more. All the more reason to invest in them, whether it’s monetarily in a hire of a church Communications Director, or investing time in yourself to learning how to be successful on Facebook and Instagram and YouTube, but we need to double down on where the attention is being paid, and bring the message, and the love and light of Jesus there.

We’ve talked about it before. When that happens, when we reach people where they’re at, they’ll probably come to where we are on Sundays or Wednesdays, wherever and whenever you meet. That’s very rarely going to be your first point of contact anymore. Your first point of contact is going to be online, so let’s meet them where they’re at, with the help of a Communications Director.

Brady Shearer: When it comes to having these conversations within your church, use these five pillars, these principles, questions, data, statistics, success stories. These are the type of things that can take your weird idea of spending money for someone to run Facebook, which sounds a little bit like a waste, an abstract, and can take that and really paint a clear picture of why it’s so important.

That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.

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