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

  • Tonja Conway

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

  • This is a great resource. Thanks for sharing!

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Thanks Phil!

  • Pingback: Do your Announcements Have Purpose with Phil Bowdle()

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • Nancy

    Hello. I’d also be thankful for a completed example of your plan. Thank you.
    votl@thompsonworld.net

  • Cindy

    Hello. We are starting a communication guideline and form here. I’d also be thankful for a completed example of your plan. Thank you. cindy.mccormick@bethanyaustin.com

  • David Reusch

    Hello Phil, just stumbled across this page. I also would love to see a completed example of yours if you wouldn’t mind sharing once again. My email is dave@theChapel.cc THANKS!

  • Kim

    Hi Phil! I love this post. I’m just starting out as a communication director at our church. Could I see a completed plan as well? I love to have it for reference, and direction! Kimberly.schmuck@gmail.com

  • Scott

    Hi Phil. Could I see a completed plan as well. Thanks! scottfulk@centralwired.com

  • Jennifer Wallace Fay

    Could you please send me a completed plan? I’m in way over my head at my church and need help! Thanks so much. jenfay at centurytel dot net

  • Alicia

    Could I see a completed one as well? Alicia@ibclr.org

  • Sharon

    Hi Phil, just stumbled upon your website and found this article very useful! Would you be able to send me a completed plan? (sgonzales AT southbaychurch.org) Thank you in advance!

  • Denise Timm

    Wondering if I could get a completed plan also? Email to deniset@macombcc.org Thank you!

  • Pingback: How To Know If Your Church Announcements Have Purpose with Phil Bowdle (PCP049) – Pro Church Tools()

  • wonu

    Hey Phil, this is great. I love it and it has helped me out a great deal. Could I also have the completed plan? My email address is yoloyew@jesushouse.org.uk. Thanks Wonu

  • Jeremiah

    Thank you for this resource. Great post! Would you mind sending me a completed plan too? I would value this very much. Thanks! jbartlett@crossroadsnewnan.org

  • Kayla

    I would love to see a copy of your completed plan. kayla@winklermb.com

  • Karen Everson

    I would love to see an example of the plan filled out also! I am the new Business Administrator at Piney Grove Baptist Church in Acworth. keverson@pineygrove.net

  • mickey.styley

    Thank you Phil for this post. I also would love to see a completed example. My email is mic.charbonnier @ gmail . com. Thank you!

  • Lazondral Nelson

    I would love to see the completed copy, please? lazondral.nelson@gmail.com

  • Sandra Brown

    This is very helpful. Can I see a completed example of the communication plan? sandrabrown01@gmail.com

  • Chris

    Wow! Just what our church needs! Thank you for sharing this. I would love to see the completed copy, please? christarroja @ ccbc.ph

  • Marcel Millot

    I also would love to see a sample of what an Internal Communications Plan would look like at your church. Would I be asking to much if you could provide a sample of your Internal Communications Plan? I hope I am not asking you for too much. It would really help our church out. Thanks so much. Marcl

  • Ryan Coleman

    Seems like a pretty popular article still, even after a few years! I think the concept is great I’d love to implement something similar but I’ve looked at the Doc and am a little confused on application as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing one filled out if you are still sharing – rcoleman 8806 at gmail .com – The empty fields don’t seem like they could hold a lot of information, so I’m wondering how much is filled in vs. send via other means to get the whole picture across to the rest of the creative team. I’m considering creating project request forms to get more details from different departments. Is that something you implement as well?

  • Felicia Weese

    Haha wow so many comments! Is it too late for me to get a completed plan as well? I’m the new Communications Manager at a church too (brand new position) and I think it would help me tons! If not, no worries 🙂 Thanks for the excel sheet and thanks for this website! fweese at olive-branch org

  • William Guy

    Hello Phil. Great article and spreadsheet. We are establishing a communications team at my church. Could you share a completed plan? revwilliamguy@gmail.com. Thanks!

  • rg

    Phil,
    I just took on the task of developing a communications plan. The spreadsheet looks great, but I am a bit overwhelmed by it. Would you please be so kind as to share a completed one?
    Blessings,
    Rlpriceless@hotmail.com

  • Ben

    Just starting out in the new communications role, too and would like a copy…. benmadhail@gmail.com Thank you!

  • Cass

    Hi, please send me completed plan too. I am overseeing a communications strategy for our church in 2017 and would love to see what you do in detail. Thanks!