As Communications Director here at West Ridge Church, I oversee our internal and external communications through our web, video, print, design, social media, marketing, and sunday messaging/announcements. At a big church with tons of incredible things happening each week, that can be a lot to keep up with!

To help map out and plan what is being communicated through our various mediums each week, I use a Google doc spreadsheet called Communications Plan.

What Does It Cover?

  • SERVICE PLAN
    • Date, Series, Topic, Announcements & Next Steps, Videos, Calendar, Worship Guide, Announcement Loop, Email
    • The focus of the Sunday Plan tab for us is to keep track of what’s being communicated during a service. For churches, Sundays (or weekends) are the biggest opportunity we have to share what God is doing in and through the church. It’s vital to be strategic about how you use that time and not try to communicate too many things. This Service Plan helps me map out what the key next steps are each week and how/where they are being communicated.
  • PROJECTS
    • Start Date, Finish Date, Priority, Project, Project Type, Key Dates/Milestones, Elements, People, Notes
    • This is where I keep a running list of current and future projects. As I hear about something in a meeting, or know a big event is coming, this helps keep me on track so I can build timelines and project milestones to get things done and not fall behind.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA
    • Date, Day, Announcements & Next Steps, Calendar, Notes & Instructions, Spots for: Facebook Posts, Twitter Posts
    • We have a point person for Facebook & Twitter. I put notes and instructions for each week on things that need to be communicated through social media. Beyond that, they have a lot of freedom to promote, engage and encourage our church through social media. We use this document to write and plan the posts, and then they get scheduled with HootSuite.
  • WEBSITE
    • Date, Series, Announcements & Next Steps, Sunday Videos, Calendar, Banners, Home Blocks, Blog
    • This helps me map out what is going where on the website, and build a plan for designing graphics/content that will be on the site.

Tips & Ideas

  • Before each week begins, I look through and update this doc to map out priorities for the week and delegate projects/tasks.
  • Each week, we try to focus on one to two key next steps. Those next steps are usually things that apply to the majority of the church. The next steps are what we focus on for stage announcements, are represented on our home page of the website, promoted on social media, and are on the worship guide. It’s important that those next steps are represented during that week in each of your communication mediums so that people who were not there on Sunday still know what’s going on.
  • As I get Communication Requests from ministries (blog post coming on this later), I map out how we’re going to be promoting that ministry/event here in all the various mediums. Then, I communicate back to the ministry team on the communications plan is for the ministry/event.
  • This year, I started meeting with each ministry area to map out their big events, on-ramps to ministry, and project needs. That info is then mapped out on this Communications Plan for the year.
  • Just because you plan it one way doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from it. Become a customer advocate here and use the filter of what’s best for the person sitting in the seat looking to engage with your church. Talking for 15 minutes at the end of the service isn’t going to help anybody engage and take their next step.

Free Resource

If you don’t already have something like this, I’ve made a blank template available for download. Feel free to use it and adjust it to your needs.

What’s your method for mapping out a communications plan? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Download Communications Plan Template

Free Resource

Download
  • http://www.facebook.com/andrewsbrandon Brandon Andrews

    Phil – can you share a complete copy of this document with notes, etc to see it in action?

    • http://philbowdle.com Phil Bowdle

      Send me your email at phil@philbowdle.com and I can send you over a link.

    • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

      Shoot me your email at phil@philbowdle.com and I can send you a link to a document.

      • http://www.facebook.com/randy.elster Randy Elster

        I’d love to see this too, Phil. I’ll send you my email. Thanks for this great resource.

      • Adrian Campos

        Hey. Phil. Thanks for sharing this information. Here’s my email too. adrian.campos@heritageqc.com

      • Lyssa

        Hey Phil, I realize this is old, but I’m new! Could you share a couple screenshots of this doc in use? Thanks! lkirwan@westsidefamilychurch.com

  • Tonja Conway

    I sent you my email too! This is a popular form. :)

  • http://twitter.com/carriegrace127 Carrie Evans

    This is a great resource. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kailey.morgan Kailey Morgan

    This is such a great help!! If you wouldn’t mind emailing me a completed form to see how you use it, I would really appreciate it. I’ll email to as well. Thanks!!

    • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

      No problem. Just sent it over to you!

      • http://www.facebook.com/jenniffermollet Jenniffer Pharris Mollet

        Me to Phil! This is so amazing! Thanks for sharing! Jen@pendcc.org

        • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

          Sent!

  • May Lim

    Hi Phil, Thanks for sharing. Do you mind sharing a completed form. It would be a great help to me. Really appreciate it. Thanks.

    • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

      Sure! Just shoot me an email at phil@philbowdle.com and I’ll send over some screenshots of the doc in use.

  • Heath Hollandsworth

    Can you send one to me too? Thanks Phil!

  • Kelly

    Looking forward to the post on how you handle Communications Requests!

  • Mary Stargel

    Hi Phil,
    I was wondering if I could also see a completed communications plan to see how you use the different areas of the template. Thanks!

    • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

      Just sent it over. Thanks!

  • Kelly

    Hey Phil,
    I’m looking for the funnel that you showed at Echo13. Can you point me to where it is on your website?

    Thx
    Kelly

  • Lisa McGehee

    Hi Phil, this template is exactly what I’ve been looking for and like others, I’d love to see a completed plan. Can you email it to me? Thank you.

  • http://mattbortmess.com matt bortmess

    Hey Phil, just beginning my new role as communication lead at our church. I would love to see the completed plan as well. Thanks!

  • Matt Solik

    Hey Phil, I’d love to see a completed plan also. Thanks for what you do!

  • http://lenwilson.us/ Len Wilson

    Thanks Phil!

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  • http://www.fishfoodbook.com Rachel

    Hi Phil,

    I realise this is an old post but are you still able to send the completed document so I can have a look-see? If so, my e-mail address is rachelaitken {at} adventist.org.au. Thanks for what you do.

    • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

      Sent!

  • Kevin

    I’d love to see the completed communications template too…thanks so much! kevin(at)thebridgersm.com

  • Mark Kohls

    Seems like you hit a nerve – keeping things organized! Like others, I’d love to see a completed version for comparison. Thanks for sharing what you’re learning and applying. You can email me at mark@northshore.church. Thanks.

    • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

      Hey Mark! Just tried sending it, but got a return email. Have another email I can try?

  • Pingback: Developing a Communications Plan « That Church Conference – Atlanta – Sept 22 and 23 #ThatCC()

  • Dave Short

    Hi Phil. Love your stuff! It’s super helpful in my new role as communications director. Could you send me a completed template as it will help me to develop and execute our mission. Thanks
    Dave

  • Tom McLean

    Hi Phil; beginning a new role in communications; can you send a copy of a completed example my way? tmclean {at} thenaz.tv

  • jolucas

    Hey Phil, just beginning my new role as communication director at our church and I would love to see a completed plan as well if you don’t mind sharing.

  • Pingback: Phil Bowdle > Developing a Communications Plan for Your Church | Innovate For Jesus | Grow the Church()

  • Tim Adams

    Phil, Thanks for sharing your insight. I’d love to see a completed plan as well. Thanks for sharing your talents!

  • Brandon Peterson

    Hey Phil,

    Would love to see a completed plan. bpeterson@clachurch.com

  • Tina W.

    Hi Phil, Just found you and boy am I glad I did! Great stuff!! So happy to know I am not alone out here in the world of church communications…thank you for all YOU do! I would love to see your completed communicatoins plan, if possible! Please and thank you so much, Tina

  • Zaharah Moore

    Hi Phil,I just started the role of writing the church bulletin and some communications. I would really love to see a completed plan,as well. cjginger@gmail.com

    • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

      Sent!

  • Madison Woodford

    Hey this is fantastic! Could you send me the completed plan as well? I am still learning my role as the director of Communications haha

  • Kim Burch

    Requesting a copy of the completed plan as well! kim@tccentralumc.org Thx!!

  • SSAG

    Would love to get a copy of the completed version, also. southsideag@ssag.org

  • Molly Hale

    Hi Phil! May I have one a well? molly.hale@fbclife.org Thanks!

  • Cameron Frank

    Hey Phil! I just stumbled upon this, and I’d like to see a completed copy as well! This is an awesome resource, and I hope to be able to implement something like this at our church. my email is cameron@chbcok.com

    Thanks so much!

  • Pam

    Hi Phil, I’m working with the Director of Communications at a local church and would love to see the completed plan as well. After seeing the template, it would be extremely helpful to see everything filled in. If you’re open to sending it, please send to communications@firstpresatl.org Thanks!

  • ketsiarasier

    Greetings Phil, just beginning my new role as communication lead also at my church. I would really appreciate to get the complete plan as well. Thanks

  • Addie Rising

    Would love to see the completed plan!

  • Lynnette Sweeney

    Me too…send me a copy please!
    lynnette.sweeney@vcgurnee.org

  • Cheryl Nester

    Hi Phil – thanks for the great information. Similar to many others I am just beginning a more structured role with our church communications and would love a copy of your completed plan as well. My email is cnester@gracehome.org. Thank you.

  • Ashley

    This is just what I needed! Could I have a completed copy as well?
    ashley@thespringschurch.com

  • joe

    Hi Phil, thanks for this post. Sorry to add to the list, but I’d love to see the completed plan as well. thanks!
    joedpow@gmail.com

  • Kristy K

    I would love to see the completed plan as well…. I was recently hired as communications asst. at our church!

  • Alex

    Hey Phil. I am wondering if you have a documented communications policy or philosophy. I am been trying to implement a plan similar to yours here but have found that there needs to be some clear parameters and guidelines that help define how communications will happen. This article (http://www.lifeway.com/churchtech/2015/06/02/implementing-a-church-communications-plan/) sums it up well, just trying to figure out what something like that would look like.

    • http://philbowdle.com/ Phil Bowdle

      Hey Alex, great question. In simple terms, here’s the guidelines I go by:
      Church-Wide Events/Programs:
      -Impact 80% of our audience
      -On-ramp to a ministry (student camp, kids camp, key event)
      -Direct next step from teaching

      Ministry Events/Programs:
      -Niche audience
      -Limited reach

      The Church-wide events get our communications teams primary efforts to help effectively communicate those across all of our channels. We try to identify only 1-2 per week. Any more than that and it becomes clutter for our audience.