Three Layers of a Total Church Communication Strategy

Communications is what we do. It’s how we spread the gospel, disciple believers, and connect the disconnected in relationships with God and each other. We tell, shout, herald, preach, and evangelize the world. We communicate.

Plenty of churches communicate well, at least in one aspect of communications. What we often lack, however, is a comprehensive and cohesive total church communications strategy.

I don’t recommend sitting on a stool with only one or two legs, but with three, properly arranged, you’re probably safe. The same is true of church communications. There are at least three important prongs of a total communications strategy which need to be held in tension and balanced well.

Communication Among the Leadership

Communication between staff members and lay leaders is crucial for the day-to-day operation of the church. Our ability to consistently meet the needs of people requires that we can get the right information to the right people at the right time. It also requires that we can effectively sort out the big signals from the smaller matters.

Communication starts with the Lead Pastor who, by default, does most of the talking. Vision is caught by other leaders in sermons, staff meetings, emails, and other forms of communication. A good leadership team will find ways to make sure that the communication lines from the leader are open and clear.

Communication Between the Pulpit and the Pew

Granted, we’re using fewer pews than we formerly did, but the point is the same—there needs to be clear communication between the leadership of the church and the congregation. A lot of great ideas die early deaths because they aren’t passed along in a way that grabs the right level of attention.

We can’t call for enthusiastic support of a new ministry that doesn’t have a strong voice. We can’t expect successful growth or capital campaigns if we aren’t making them a priority in our communications schedule. And on a spiritual note, we can’t expect our people to be growing deeper and bringing others into the fold if we aren’t clearly communicating the priorities of Jesus for our lives and for the corporate body.

Communication From the Church to the Community

In one sense, this is the big one. This is the layer of communication that gets all the attention. Books and magazines are written about outreach-oriented communication. Seminars are taught and conference keynotes delivered on how to communicate to the culture in which we live.

It was just a decade ago that we were talking about direct mail. Now we’re diving into social media and text messaging. Never before have so many opportunities existed for us to communicate with so many people. So yes, this layer of communication is vital. But…

If we aren’t communicating well among our leadership, or between the staff and the congregation, then our effective outreach communication may be in vain. The very structure of our churches may not be able to handle the responses that come back from that public communication.

The challenge is a big one. January is a good time to re-evaluate the effectiveness of our communications strategy at every level. And if you’re the leader at the top, you probably aren’t aware of all of the weaknesses. Ask a few people if they know what’s going on from week to week. The answer can be painful, but helpful.

As Adrian Rogers once said, “communicate, or disintegrate.”

You can check out Brandon here.

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12 thoughts on “Three Layers of a Total Church Communication Strategy

  1. Great article! I've shared it with my church's communications committee; should be a great starting point for developing an effective communications strategy. Thanks for posting!

  2. I like the Communication Between the Pulpit and the Pew. Great ideas. My wife and I will use them in our role as Stewardship Chaircouple at our church.

    Brandon, appreciate your article.

  3. Brandon,Brandon,

    Thanks for your post. It's helpful to understand and break down the communication channels within an organization.

    I'll add that a next step in the process is finding or creating alignment between parties. I think this is very important in "church world." I'm concerned that church leaders are so engrossed by their own message they forget that communication is a two-way process. It's important to tie communication to shared values, mission, and vision, shared dreams and hopes.

    Just my two cents,

    Dan

  4. Brandon,
    What do you do if you see that communication between staff and leaders is always being kept a secret. For instance staff has a project going but they don't notify Leadership until the project takes place.

  5. thanks for the reminder. leaders may be sitting" comfortably", may be forgetting the ONE we are following