Three Church Communication Mistakes to Avoid

Jesus shared the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew and Luke) because we need to weigh the cost of what we’re building and start with the proper foundation.

The church today is scrambling to replicate communications from other churches. They see them spend money on something interesting, so they think they should do it too. Sometimes that works, however, if the proper foundation isn’t present, the components you’re building prove to be costly.

Here are 3 costly mistakes many churches are making in the communication department:

1. Not building an audience. I was recently lamenting the amount of political TV commercials and calculating how much each network must profit from political funds. But the opportunity to air the commercials (and make a gazillion dollars) wouldn’t be present if they didn’t build an audience before the political season. If they didn’t have the people, the campaigns wouldn’t choose them for their communications. The lesson? Build an audience for your church everyday so that when you have a particularly important message to relay, you’ll have them. SOLUTION: Pinpoint your audience, their needs and goals, and deliver them. Ensure all your communication vehicles are consistently needed, and promote them so you have as many followers as possible. On social media, try to entertain/influence/educate your audience in such a way that they want to share their experience with others on their wall.

2. Not establishing a communication thread. Your ministries need a unifier. Since everyone wants to feel unique and different, leadership wants to try new things and standout above those around them. It becomes a competition between ministry groups to see who can stand out more. The outcome? Often ministry silos start to destroy the foundation of your local church. Everyone becomes known for their own brand rather than a consistent communication thread that unites your church. SOLUTION: Unify the church messaging around one benefit or goal and you’ll save money because the message reaches and resonates farther. It’ll also give you a foundation for tiering your messaging and will allow you to be known for something in your community (so you can build a bigger audience).

3. Thinking an App will solve your Issues. “All the cool churches have apps, so we need one too”. We hear this regularly. But the truth? It’ll add another tool to maintain, another communication message to push (please download our app), and it’ll be a constant struggle to get your congregation to engage with it regularly (most apps are only used once and then stored in a folder to never be used again). What happens? You’ve spent a lot of money on a tool that simply replicates what your website should be doing. SOLUTION: Ensure your church has a trusted, responsive (mobile ready) website instead of an app. Everyone regularly uses websites to locate information on their built-in browser, so why struggle getting them to adopt another tool when your URL (that they already know) can deliver almost everything that they need? Geofencing and push notifications are perhaps the only reasons to have an app. But you’ll still need a solid website as a foundation, so spend the money on perfecting an amazing web experience before ever spending money on an app. Usually a good website is all you need.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald is a Bible Teacher, speaker, best-selling author of Be Known For Something, and communication strategist for BeKnownForSomething.com and the Florida Baptist Convention. He empowers churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, and social media. His book is available at BeKnownBook.com and amazon.com.

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Five Common Mistakes Made by Leaders When They Speak

Many of the failures in leadership are failures to communicate well. No matter how smart we are or how good our strategies are, they are doomed for failure if no one understands them.

In previous articles, I dealt with poor written grammar, so much so that some of my friends refer to me as “the grammar cop.” In this article, I deal with five of the more common communication mistakes made by leaders when they speak.

  1. Poor grammar. Grammatical mistakes are not limited to written communication. They are much too common when leaders speak as well, including some leaders who are highly educated and in positions of great influence. The most common speaking grammatical error that I have noticed in recent years is the incorrect use of reflexive pronouns. For example the reflexive pronoun “myself” is used improperly in this sentence: “The award was presented to Janice, John, and myself.” The correct pronoun is the non-reflexive “me.”
  2. Too much information. An audience can only absorb a limited number of facts in a given presentation. Some leaders attempt to cover a multitude of items, leaving the hearers bored, confused, and frustrated. Speak to the essential issues and provide supplementary written material if necessary.
  3. Too many visuals. PowerPoint and other visual aids can be either a help or a hindrance to a speaker. Too often leaders try to put too much information in visual aids. At that point the aid becomes a barrier to communication. Consider having no more than one visual aid for each three minutes of speaking. You might be surprised how much the retention of your listeners improves.
  4. “Insider” language. Acronyms should be banned from speaking presentations. At my organization we have one acronym for every molecule that exists in our building. Those who are on the inside may think it’s okay to use acronyms with other insiders. The problem is that the pattern of speaking develops into a habit that will creep into external presentations. Indeed, good speakers avoid acronyms and insider technical words unless they are clearly explained to the audience.
  5. Insufficient pathos. Aristotle divided the means of persuasion into three categories. Ethos is used to establish the credibility or character of the speaker. Logos means persuading by reasoning or logic. Pathos means persuading by appealing to the readers’ or hearers’ emotions. Too few speakers attempt to speak to the hearts of the audience through personal illustrations, humor, or captivating stories. As a consequence, the presentation is often deemed dry and boring, regardless of the quality of the content.

I continue to be a student of effective communication. I still have a long way to go. What could you add to this list? What stories or examples do you have of either effective or ineffective speaking?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, was released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.