This past winter when I was still working for Free Methodist Church USA, I was privileged to speak to the leadership of the denomination through six regional events called “Equipping for Excellence”. My keynote was in two parts: Developing a Communication Strategy for Your Church and a vision/tutorial piece on a platform we built for the denomination. Both were received well. However, later in the day during the workshop sessions, many local church leaders were hungry to talk through some of their ideas and struggles with developing a local church communication strategy. Here’s the keynote at one of the locations as well as the simple strategy with resources for you to give it a try.
Big Picture: Keep It Simple
Many churches don’t have media teams to manage systems. Most churches I’ve grown up and served in have a skeleton crew. The big idea is to not have to create a ton of content. Just think of yourself as a storyteller as you serve. One story per week. The rest of the content is natural and usually in your church bulletins or monthly newsletters you send. Simply create one new story. Then take the rest of the content you already produce and broadcast it using this rough roadmap/method.
1. Tell a Story
[tweet_box]Every church as a story to tell. Sometimes you just don’t know it. Look for them. Then tell them.[/tweet_box] You don’t have to be a great writer. And it doesn’t have to be some huge story. Justshare what God is doing. If you’ve got a picture or two, even better. A video? You’re aces, baby. Put them together. Picture, words, and maybe video. Then bam – you’ve got a story.
2. Post it on a Website
Many church websites aren’t great. They were probably funded a few years ago with the former pastor. Nobody can remember the password to update it. You need to pay someone to make changes. It’s tough to remember or maintain. I get it. I’ve heard the stories. My suggestion is to use a web-based content management system called WordPress. It’s free. And it doesn’t require software or much technical skills. This could also be a great opportunity to delegate this to your youth ministry. Regardless, to tell stories you need a platform. Your website is that platform. Remember when church signs used to matter? They don’t now. Your website is your sign.
3. Send the story in an Email
Once you’ve written your story, posted it on your website, I’d coach you to consider sending out a weekly email newsletter. In it you can put stuff that normally happens in your church: schedule, an event, and then your story. Keep in mind that you’re not really creating a ton of new content here. Just being strategic about it. Think of the weekly email as a recap of your bulletin from last week and a preview of the bulletin for this week. Make sense?
Email Newsletter Resources
4. Share the Story on Social Media
The next step is to share your story on social media channels. Facebook and Twitter would be the most widely used. Post the picture, tease the story and add the link to it. Then wait for the conversation.
- Social Media Handbook: Church Editionby ChurchMag Press
- The Social Media Guide for Ministryby Nils Smith
Have Conversations on the Story
When people see the story in their feeds and post comments, engage. Reward your tribe for participating. When people post negative comments, use restraint in responding and simply let the community take care of itself.