My first experience with church communications was around the year 2000. I was fifteen years old, I had learned web design as a hobby, and my church was looking to launch their first website.
The Board of PR Communications invited me and another high schooler to work with them to build their website. These adults were not very tech savvy, but they understood communications and strategy, and I learned from them that a church website is far more than just HTML.
Seventeen years later, the world of online communications has become much more complex, and what I learned from that website experience is as relevant now as it has ever been. Websites, blogs, email, social media, search engines, paid advertising—they are all great tactics, but without a strategy, their effectiveness is minimal.
Two Important Lessons
As my career has transitioned from retail operations to sales to marketing, I have learned two lessons that still have very practical applications. All the latest technology in the world cannot help a situation that has a poor strategy, and every form of communication that does not focus on the audience is doomed to fail.
Here’s another experience I had with church communications, but it’s less positive.
A few years ago, my wife and I were regularly attending a church while we waited for her to receive a teaching call. This church was looking for someone to lead a communications team, and I volunteered for the task.
After a few months of weekly meetings, regular communication with the church staff, and seeking the assistance of other volunteers, we had made very little progress, and I was frustrated. The problem, ironically enough, was lack of communication. The church staff and the church council provided conflicting information about the oversight of the communications team, but they wouldn’t discuss the situation in person to reach a consensus. Ultimately, our strategy was not effective because we were placing the focus on the messengers rather than on the recipients.
When my wife received a call, I was more than happy to resign from my position on the team.
New, Free Training Course
Our new training course, Church Online Communications Comprehensive, is meant to help you avoid such pitfalls in your church’s communications and to help you establish a strategy that will excel. This course is free and will last 14 weeks. We’ll help you answer questions like the following:
- How do I manage all this communication?
- How can I get to know my church members better?
- How do I make my communication more meaningful?
- How can I contextualize my message?
- How do I make the most of each channel?
- How much time should I spend on social media?
- How do I get my website to show up in Google search results?
- How do I get others on board?
All the course materials are available online for free, and you can move through the course at your own pace. Start working toward an effective online communications strategy for your church today!
Ready to get started right now?
Download the first document, Tracking Your Church’s Communication Footprint. Use the document to take an inventory of the communication channels your church is currently using. This inventory will give you the holistic view you need to start planning your church’s online communication strategy.
About the Author
Peter Frank serves as Senior Marketing Manager of Church Supplies at Concordia Publishing House. A graduate of Concordia University Wisconsin, his background in theology, business, and computers gives him a unique perspective on technology in the church. Married and the father of two children, he is frequently humbled when his 18-month-old shows him new things on the iPad.Follow on Twitter More Content by Peter Frank