Is Your Communications Team A Service Department Or A Ministry?

January 16, 2017

Have you ever had a ministry leader approach you with a big idea?

The conversation starts innocently enough with a need to promote an upcoming event or ministry, but quickly turns into talking about tactics like “We need t-shirts, a billboard, a new logo, business cards, and pens!”

The rhythm most churches are in for promoting an event is:

  1. A ministry leader or pastor tells the communications team what they want, how they want it, where they want it shared, and when they need it by.
  2. The communications leader or team takes this work order and attempts to complete the project exactly as requested.

Most conversations about promoting a ministry focus on the “what” before identifying the “why”.

When this happens, the communications team turns into a service department instead of a ministry.

This model is broken. What’s missing is that we need ministry leaders and communication leaders to partner together to more effectively communicate to the church.

Yes, we desperately need the vision, direction and expertise of the ministry leader to capture what they’re trying to accomplish through an event and to better understand the audience they’re trying to reach. However, we also need communication leaders to use their gifts to clarify that vision and effectively communicate it to your church.

How can a communications team partner with ministries instead of becoming a service department?

It starts by asking the right questions before assuming you have the right answers.
It starts by establishing a clear WHY before jumping to the WHAT.

Before you jump into promoting your next big thing, start the conversation by discussing these questions:

Question #1: What do you want to accomplish?

At the end of the day, what do you want to see happen? Every project should have a clear win and a goal that need to be accomplished. Is it awareness? Attendance? Sharing/inviting friends? Identifying what you need to accomplish will give the ministry leader an opportunity to share the vision and end result they are looking for.

Question #2: What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

Behind every project is a problem to solve. Often times, instead of identifying the problem to solve, we jump right to what we think is the solution (logos, SWAG, redesigns, videos, etc). If we can zero in on the problem to solve, the communications team now has a filter to run any ideas through to see if it would effectively solve that problem. Through this question, we learn what’s at stake if we don’t solve the problem.

Question #3: What are the barriers?

Within every program, event, or new initiative, there are barriers that need to be overcome. There are barriers like: high cost of registration, taking a week off to attend, no childcare, complex instructions, confusing message, and long event length.

As communication leaders, it’s our role to help identify and remove barriers that keep people from taking their next step. It’s not always our role to “fix” the barriers, but our role to identify the barriers so that together we can be strategic about creating solutions for them.

Communication leaders:
Stop looking at your ministry as a service department, and start leading it as a ministry. Stop looking at your role solely as a promoter. Look at yourself as a partner with your church and ministry leaders. Stop jumping in on the last 10 percent of an event or program by just doing the marketing. Be an advocate for your audience, and partner with ministry leaders to help identify and remove barriers through the communication process.

Your audience will thank you.