Within the church, all of our ministry efforts and communication should serve one purpose: leading people through their next steps with Christ, from the beginning stages of faith through the rest of their journey alongside your church. If the next steps aren’t made clear for people, they will typically choose to do things in whatever way seems best to them.
So when it comes to our role as leaders (and, in turn, as communicators), our energy should be dedicated to guiding people through those next steps with Christ. And that guidance needs to be clear. Because if it’s not clear, it’s confusing. And if it’s confusing, it’s poor communication. And poor communication is ineffective leadership. Poor communication allows opportunities for agendas and division within the church. Your job as a leader is to keep everyone aligned on mission and focused on the vision of the Church.
So what do we do as Church leaders?
1) You need to define what the “next steps” are.
Most of us like to label keeping people busy as “discipleship.” (I’m right there with you). But, if we’re honest, a lot of times the amount of programs we offer more often hinder people’s abilities to grow spiritually than help it.
We recommend developing a discipleship path to make the journey clear for anyone at your church. That may sound overwhelming, but creating a discipleship path is simply defining the next steps you ask people to take on their spiritual journey. And determining those things specifically will be so helpful in narrowing your ministry focus and prioritizing what you communicate as a church. Pro Tip: The next steps you define should flow out of your specific mission and vision, what God has called your church to accomplish and focus on.
2) Focus on inspiring people to take a next step.
Once you’ve defined the next steps, the goal now becomes leading people through that spiritual journey. You now have the opportunity to get creative by asking the question, “How can we inspire people to take a next step instead of just informing them of what’s available?” Our friends at Fishhook recently wrote a great article on that very topic.
3) Don’t prioritize communicating anything outside of your vision and discipleship plan.
Communication without purpose is just noise. As you define the journey that your church will guide people through, resist the urge to communicate anything that doesn’t fit within that process. Let your vision and discipleship path be the filter that all communication runs through. If it doesn’t make the cut, toss it out.
4) Evaluate your current methods of communication.
Finally, be willing to take an honest inventory of your current methods of communication and their effectiveness. This includes your announcements on Sunday mornings, the layout of your website, your social media presence, your bulletin, and the list goes on…
Don’t let “we’ve always done it this way” be the sole reason you hang on to a method of communication that is outdated or ineffective. And as we mentioned before, measure its worth against the goals you’ve set in both your vision and discipleship plan.