8 Bad Habits that Keep Your Church Communications Stuck in a Rut

We can get stuck in a rut when it comes to our leadership and church communications. Even in the most “progressive” churches we can just do things the way that they have always been done. Here are a few areas that I think we can suffer from our past habits sneaking up on us …

  • Too Much Reliance on the Bulletin // The church bulletin is still a staple communications tool in church’s today. But if you think that getting your “ad” in the program will move people to action in your church you may be delusional.  Try this … put an ad in this weekend’s bulletin offering $10 for the first 10 people that contact you via email … you’ll be surprised how few people contact you. If it’s important to communicate to your church than you need to use many channels to get the message out!
  • Using the Senior Pastor as the Magic Bullet // We all know that if the lead pastor at your church gets up and communicates whatever the need is your people will be moved to action. But the more that person leverages their influence in this way the less effective it is. Choose wisely how you manage the finite amount of trust your senior leaders have with people … don’t waste it on secondary issues at your church.
  • Too Many Messages // How many things are you “asking” your people to be involved with? Cut it in half … and then next year cut it in half again. Narrow the focus on what you communicate about to get traction in your church. The more you talk about the less likely any of it will make an impact.
  • Way Too Much Asking … Not Enough Celebrating // We suffer from talking too much about the future in our churches … asking people to come to events, join small groups, volunteer for upcoming outreaches. We need to spend more time celebrating what has happened in the life our churches! Thank donors. Take time out to declare isn’t it great to be a part of us?!
  • Complex Response Systems // We want to make it easier for “us” so we make our people jump through more hoops than is necessary to sign up for stuff. We should be finding ways to reduce friction for our people … simplify, simplify simplify! Typically that means it’s going to be more work for “us” … but that’s ok … that’s what being in leadership is all about!
  • Lousy Visuals // We live in a post-literate society. Your people need you to communicate with them in a visual manner. Your messages need compelling images (and video?) to move people to action. Most church leaders think in words and concepts while the people we lead are visual learners … we need to close that gap!
  • Acronyms // This is a serious pet peeve of mine … acronyms are total “insider language”. They aren’t friendly to the people we are trying to lead. They are used by the “in” people to have a “code language” that can’t be understood by outsiders … acronyms make us feel great but make new people feel left out. (Similar … “cool” program names that aren’t self evident. It’s cool that your kids program is called Nirmātā Land … but the fact that you need to constantly explain that it means Creator Land in Nepalese is sideways energy and confuses outsiders.)
  • You’re Passionate … They’re Not // We’re called to shepherd and lead the people that we serve. By definition the shepherd is more passionate and knowledgeable than the sheep. Stop assuming that your people care about what is happening at your church. Don’t whine that people aren’t joining your ministry approach … it’s our job to raise our programs up in their priorities. They don’t come to it passionate … our role is to lead them there … to shepherd them.

Each one of those I’ve suffered from in my leadership in church communications! What am I missing from this list?

>> Read more from Rich here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Oree McKenzie — 09/18/14 5:20 am

Thanks for posting.

Recent Comments
Yea! You fixed it!
 
— Mr. Troy Reynolds
 
I just discovered this today and am looking forward to exploring the content on here. It looks like it could be very helpful. Just an FYI - in your paragraph on not putting out B+ material you have a typo. A little ironic. :-) The third sentence begins with "You time" not "Your time."
 
— Troy Reynolds
 
I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
— JAG
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.