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The Best Church Communications Approach (Even If Your Budget Is Tight and Your Team Is Lean)

24 April, 2018
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Often we think communications is about getting the news and announcements to people in our congregation or community. News and announcements inform people.

But what if you want to really inspire people to connect through your church?

Communications that inspires first tell about the WHY or the HEART behind something and then tell a STORY about someone who has been impacted or will be impacted.

Ready for a real-life example?

Maybe your church has decided that you'd like every person to be in a small group or a class because that's where people can find more personal support and continue growing in their faith.

To get people to sign up, you might be tempted to share an announcement that focuses on when and where the small groups or classes are being held and who is leading them.

But this isn't an approach that really inspires most people (especially younger people and busy families) to action.

Instead, consider the WHY and the HEART behind this effort.

Why do the leaders of your church want everyone to find a small group? Why do you believe this is so important for their daily living and spiritual growth? From here, illustrate the WHY and the HEART by sharing messaging from your leaders and stories from actual people in your congregation or community.

You might share a story from your congregation about a person or a family that was going through a really hard time. Ask them to share how being connected to others in your church brought them prayer support, spiritual growth as they trusted God, and other encouragement. Ask them to share about their actual experience in their own words by writing it down (to be shared in a print piece or online), or sharing it via video, or in-person at an event or service. Because this is the kind of encouragement you want every person in your church to have, you can move forward to ask everyone to be part of a small group or class.

Using this approach would bring to life the importance of small groups and classes for every person at your church.

Are you ready to take on this challenge?

No matter your church's budget or the size of your staff or congregation, you have the tools to communicate well and move people to action!

So here is our challenge: turn away from just communicating news and announcements to focusing on storytelling with compelling next steps. This will allow you to share the WHY and HEART of your ministry efforts to move people to take their next step to learn more, grow in their faith journey, and get involved.

Here are five tips to boost your compelling communications efforts and storytelling:

  1. Just giving information and announcements (facts, figures and lots of details) is a no-no. Instead, share intentional messages and stories to evoke a response from your congregation and community.

  2. People and their stories are critical to this process! How is God working? As you hear stories about life change - and especially those that connect with your key ministries as a church - take note! These are the people and stories you want to lead with as you are talking up new opportunities.

  3. Continually ask others: What stories about life change or impact have you heard or been part of recently? Consider making this a standard question you ask your staff, volunteers, and other leaders on a regular basis. Capture and organize these stories by topic and/or ministry area in a spreadsheet, document, or project management tool for later reference.

  4. Always consider the best method to tell these stories. And look for new ways to tell stories. Through video? As a lead into prayer time in a worship service? Through written word in a print piece, an online blog, or social media post? As artwork on display? Someone sharing in-person? What about a child or teenager sharing?

  5. Tell the stories and key messaging first, then include clear next steps and calls-to-action for people of all ages. In response to the story and opportunity, what do you want people to do? Pray? Attend? Give? Serve? Join a class or small group? Invite a friend? Make the steps clear and simple. Give options for taking next steps within your physical location (at the event, service, etc.) as well as online.

This article was written by Leah Norton, Managing Partner at Fishhook, one of our awesome partner organizations

Leah Norton

Leah Norton is the Managing Partner at Fishhook, an agency all about church communications. She is a team leader, client advocate, and supporter.

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