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.

Author: 95Network

How often do you send emails to your church members? Once a week? Once a month? Rarely ever? If you’re anything like the typical church across the United States, the answer is probably very seldom. But why? Email is another form of communication that should be used frequently in your ministry. It’s not difficult to send an email out on a regular basis. In fact, many churches still send out weekly or monthly newsletters via USPS to their members and recent visitors. There is a cost in that, and it’s always higher than sending emails. 

Here are four reasons why I love email for church communication:

  1. Open rates are high. Open rates for emails from religious institutions are the highest of any category that is tracked. According to Constant Contact, a company that serves many churches for email marketing, 40.24% of emails from churches are opened. Why? Your members trust the content that is coming from your church. They want to know more about what is happening, what is planned for future events, and how they can be involved. Furthermore, opt-out rates are very low—only 0.22%, the lowest of any category Constant Contact tracks.
  2. Email keeps people engaged and reminded. My wife and I get emails a few days prior to our scheduled time to serve in the children’s ministry each Sunday. It’s a good reminder for me and allows me the opportunity to put it on my calendar. My small-group leader sends out an email every week to everyone in our group. He includes prayer requests, notes, and takeaways from the pastor’s sermon, areas and opportunities to serve, and much more. You may be surprised at how engaging these emails are and how conversation carries itself through the week to the following Sunday. 
  3. There are a few companies that allow churches to use their email service for free. Constant Contact and MailChimp are a couple of companies that I know. For example, MailChimp offers churches and nonprofits the ability to send 15,000 emails per month at no charge. Think about that for a second. If you’re a church with an average attendance of 200 each Sunday, you could send 75 emails each month, or two a day! I’m not suggesting that, by any means, but you get a sense for the enormity of what 15,000 emails a month means. 
  4. It’s cost effective. How many times have I used the word “free” in this post? Several. The days of sending out paper newsletters to your members should be long gone. Some older folks in your church may still value this form of communication, and that’s okay. But many would prefer email. It’s quick for you and easy for them. Pew says 88% of people in the US access their email on their smart phone, and Venture Beat says 65% of all email gets opened first on a mobile device. Does that open your eyes a bit? It sure does for me. 

So if you’re not communicating with your church congregation via email or you are at a minimal level, allow me to challenge you to explore the possibility. I think you’ll like the results, and I’m pretty certain your members will as well. Check out some of the services I mentioned in this post and give me your feedback if you’re already using these services. Tell me your positive and negative experiences. I’d love to hear them. 

We developed One Church Software to allow for quick communication through email and text messaging. We even created an email builder and a way to schedule messages far in advance. However, we realize some churches prefer using third parties, so we have integration partners for email as well. 

Author: Matt Morris