The Forgotten Role of Communication Leaders

Have you ever had a ministry leader come up to you with a big idea? It might start with talking about their ministry/event and jump right to “We need t-shirts”, or “We need a billboard”, or “We need a new logo, business cards and pens. Lots of pens.”

What’s funny about these conversations is the ministry leader is often expecting the “creative team” to jump right into adding the creative flair to the project and get it done.

What I’ve learned is that, as communication leaders, there is a crucial part of the job that many of us have forgotten. Yes, we need to promote and create SWAG from time to time. But honestly, that’s a small part of the job.

The crucial role that many communication leaders overlook is that they see themselves solely as a marketer, not a partner with the ministry. Marketers promote things after the planning and strategy have been completed. What we need to be is partners in the process.

What does that look like? We need to start asking the right questions before we jump right into a project. Here are the questions I ask any time I meet with a ministry about creative communication needs. Continue Reading »

The Secret To Great Series Design

One question I get asked frequently is “What is your process for creating series art?”

As the Communications Director, I act as the art director for any series design and branding package we do. I rarely am the one creating the graphic, but I work through the creative approach we’re taking on the series and direct the process while working with a designer or creative team.

There’s one document that I use for each series branding project that has been crucial to success. It’s called a Creative Brief.

Here’s what is included in the document and what the process looks like for creating great series design: Continue Reading »

Four Ideas To Move Volunteers From Interest To Full Engagement

Two years ago, it finally hit me that the way I was trying to get volunteers engaged on the communications team was not working. I was passionate about getting people plugged in to use their gifts to serve the church, but had no focused volunteer strategy to move people from interest to full engagement. People were getting lost in the process, and I was quickly becoming overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything. It was time for a do-over.

Here are four simple things we did to improve our volunteer engagement for communications:

Continue Reading »

7 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting A Stage Announcement

One of the most challenging things in service planning for pastors and communication leaders can be managing stage announcements. Without a system and strategy in place, you can quickly find yourself stuck in a rhythm of spending 10 minutes on announcements at the end of the service, while not being effective with any of them.

Time is limited and stage announcements are not the answer to everything. Here’s 7 reasons why you’re not getting a stage announcement: Continue Reading »

4 Mistakes From My First 3 Years As Communications Director

March 2013 marked my 3 year anniversary as Communications Director at West Ridge Church. It has been an incredible blessing to to work for a church that I love, respect and would choose to attend.

These three years have been filled with some triumphs, challenges, loss, and lessons. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and the role of communications in the church. Looking back specifically on my role as Communications Director, here are 4 mistakes from my first 3 years in this role along with some lessons I’ve learned along the way. Continue Reading »

Easter 2013: A Communications Case Study

Easter 2013 has now come and gone. If you are part of a church staff or creative team, you know how crazy the weeks and months are leading up to a huge day like this. At West Ridge Church, we had an incredible weekend across 2 locations with our highest attended weekend ever. Here’s a look at the communications plan and some some things I learned:

THE PLAN

Early on in 2013, I mapped out a plan to work from on communicating Easter services at West Ridge. As we got closer to Easter and had a better idea of the theme and elements of our Easter service, this was tweaked accordingly. For big events like Easter, I typically create a one-page promo plan outlining how we are promoting the event in all of our major channels. This is a huge help to not only me, but our staff team. Here’s what that plan looks like: Continue Reading »

A Simple Method For Capturing & Telling Stories

It’s not that hard to lead people to Jesus when you tell them a story which they are in.
-Erwin McManus

One of the most powerful ways to cast vision and inspire life change is to share a story. 

At West Ridge, the vision of our communications team is to tell the story of what God is doing in and through our church. Through 15 years, we have seen thousands of lives changed and have witnessed powerful stories throughout our community, country and world. But to be honest, it has been a challenge to capture and tell those stories to the rest of the church to help inspire others. Continue Reading »

Work Smarter, Not Harder

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first hour sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln

The most successful projects I’ve been a part of have one thing in common: at the beginning, time was taken to establish the problem needing to be solved and the objective of the project. Without this crucial beginning, the failure rate, frustration and time wasted grew exponentially.

In my early days of working primarily with design and websites, I would get a project and jump right into creating. I would open up Photoshop and get to work. Occasionally, I would end up with something good. The majority of the time, I would find myself stuck because I had no foundation to work from or filter to make decisions by. I was working harder, not smarter. This was difficult when working by myself, but chaotic when working with a team. Continue Reading »

2 Lessons From The Harlem Shake

In February 2013, the Harlem Shake officially took over social media feeds and computers everywhere as the greatest viral web sensation since Gangam Style.

On February 3rd, a Harlem Shake dance video, based off of a song by Baauer, started a firestorm of spin-off videos. Within 12 days, 40,000 new Harlem Shake videos had hit YouTube that were viewed over 175 million times. Since then, that number has grown.

Here’s my personal favorite so far, and one of the only appropriate ones I could find:

Continue Reading »

Series Planning Process

One of the most common things church creative teams do is take a sermon series or service from idea to execution. Throughout the years, I’ve been surprised to see that most churches do not have an intentional system and process in place for sermon series planning.

Every churches process may look slightly different, but here’s a process we’ve put in place at West Ridge Church to keep our Teaching, Creative Arts & Communications Teams on track throughout the series planning process.

seriesplanningprocess_button Continue Reading »

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