January 23, 2017

Critical Communication

Parishioners and visitors staying in touch with our church community and each other is a critical component of a welcoming and vibrant ministry. In the past and also very much today the primary means of communication within our church is by word-of-mouth. Through a chance meeting at a grocery store or social event, a telephone call to a parishioner, or a planned visit, those absent for a Sunday or months of Sundays are given an update on the church happenings in these interactions. While these means of communication are great and necessary they can sometimes lead to inconsistent or wrong information being conveyed. Sometimes the messenger does undermine the message especially if an unhappy or gossip-filled parishioner. 

Today there are many modes of communication available and in order to be relevant in our social world we must produce clear, consistent messages on these platforms. At minimum, a church must have an email address, a website and a Facebook page. Of course the key is that information should be current and correct and emails should be responded to in a professional and timely manner. Communication should also be included in the church budget with the majority of expenses allocated to hiring a professional to ensure that the church is represented to the world in the best way possible. People now shop online for churches as they do everything else, so an attractive and enticing presence goes a long way!

Other communication tools worth considering are conference call services. An example is www.freeconferencecall.com, a service that allows multiple members to be connected for meetings, bible study or a prayer line and there is no cost to the church. For a larger investment, an automatic calling service, such as www.onecallnow.com, is a great tool that allows telephone calls to be placed to all or a subset of church members with a pre-recorded message from the clergy or other church leaders.

It is also recommended that a communications committee be established to develop and execute a communications strategy for the church. While many may be technology averse, without these critical communication approaches, our churches may become disconnected from current and future disciples and we will undermine our ability to bring the Good News to the world.