20 Key Strategies to Improve Church Communications
Keeping an open dialogue between church staff, elder representatives, leaders and members goes a long way in accomplishing goals, fostering new ideas, reaching out to new members and living out your church’s mission statement. Below are 20 strategies for improving church communications for large or small congregations.
Start with one or two suggestions and gradually add others that make sense for your church or bring them all before a committee for discussion to determine which strategies are the best fit.
- Small Groups - Assign a church representative to a group of eight to 10 members who have expressed interest in small group communication. Ask the church representative or group leader to prepare two to three thought-provoking questions before each meeting.
- Bulletin Board - A bulletin board is an easy and highly visual way to keep members up-to-date on church happenings. Place the board in a central location and post meeting minutes, a list of upcoming activities, news articles and other information. This is a helpful tool for members who want to stay in the know but aren’t social media savvy.
- Newsletter - Online or in print, a church newsletter is a prime opportunity to let members know about the goings-on of the church. Include lots of pictures, schedule of events, staff profiles, Q&A with elders and other pertinent information.
- Coffee Talk - Host a monthly coffee or breakfast meetup event with church staff and invite members. Spending time together in a casual environment will encourage dialog, networking and trust.
- Suggestion Box - A suggestion box allows members to share ideas and concerns, ask questions and feel like they are part of the process. Some suggestions could be used as article topics in the church newsletter.
Plan a church volunteer luncheon with a sign up. View an Example
- New Member Questionnaire - When a new member joins the church, send a follow-up questionnaire via mail or email. Ask about their first impressions, how they would like to receive information and what they hope to get out of their membership. This information can be helpful in determining if your church is sending a message that reflects its core values.
- Vision and Mission Statements - Have paper copies of the church vision and mission statements available to members at every service and at large events.
- Online Comments - If your church has a website, include an online form where members can make comments and offer suggestions. Assign a staff member to review feedback and share concerns and recommendations with elders.
- Campaign Letter - When pledge time rolls around, include a letter from the head of the church with a list of accomplishments and challenges from the previous year and let members know how their money and time is working towards the mission.
- Member of the Month - Recognize hardworking church volunteers with a Member of the Month Program. Include an article in the newsletter with his or her picture and a quick Q&A.
Schedule Sunday school rotation shifts with a sign. View an Example
- Survey Says - Want to know if your target audience is getting the message? Send a quarterly survey asking members to rank which communication vehicles (email, newsletters, text, etc.) they find most effective.
- Resource Page - Include a place on the church website with important information members can download including vision statements, long and short-term goals, financial information and meeting minutes. If this information isn’t available to non-members, create a login page just for members.
- Congregational Meeting - Every quarter, host a congregational meeting for members to discuss important topics and offer general comments and suggestions. This could be a formal gathering in the sanctuary or a family-friendly potluck event.
- Summer Picnic - When the weather turns warmer, host a church picnic. Include fun activities for the whole family and ask staff and board members to host. Take an opportunity to discuss what’s working and what areas of communication could be improved.
- Mentor Program - Identify up-and-coming leaders in the church and pair them with a staff or elder member. This is effective in fostering new leadership and gaining perspective on the future of the church.
Coordinate worship team rehearsals with a sign up. View an Example
- Staff Directory - Publish an online and paper staff directory that includes a picture, list of responsibilities, email address and contact phone number for each person listed.
- Committees - Make members part of the process by organizing committees to shoulder some of the workload. Create a social committee, community outreach committee or children and youth committee that can assist staff in planning events and keeping the congregation engaged.
- Communications Team - Want to improve or develop a communications plan for your church? Pull together a communications team comprised of staff, veteran and new members. Establish short and long-term goals towards improving communication and finding new ways to keep members informed.
- Host a Retreat - Plan an annual church retreat for staff, board members, committee leaders and church influencers. If funds allow, bring in a facilitator or consultant specially trained in church or organizational communication.
- Be Social (Media) - Ensure all members of the congregation are getting the message by establishing a presence on social media outlets including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. If your staff is over-committed, form a social media team or hire an intern to help get you started.
Any and all types of successful communication start with a plan. Use these suggestions as a starting point and encourage church members, staff and leaders to weigh in on what’s working and what isn’t and don’t be afraid to try new things. Your congregation will appreciate the effort!
Courtney McLaughlin is a freelance writer in Charlotte, N.C. She gratefully shares her life, home and heart with her daughter and their dog.