Mention “church communications” to many people and they’ll think, “That’s the ministry that promotes church events.” But communications is a global church ministry that exists within three overlapping spheres, or areas, of which “promotions” is just one. The other spheres are conversations and teaching. Let’s look at each of these areas.
Conversations (“Every day, they continued to meet together … ”)
“Conversations” is the most overlooked function of a communications ministry. Yet, “promotions” doesn’t work very well if “conversations” isn’t present. Essentially, “conversations” is all about doing certain things in both online and physical environments:
- Monitoring and participating in conversations (in blogs, forums, social media) about the church and the gospel.
- Monitoring and participating in conversations within the church.
- Beginning or kindling the fire for gospel-centered conversations.
- Providing a satisfactory conclusion to conversations, when appropriate.
Promotions (“Come and see … ”)
Like I wrote in the beginning, “promotions” is the area that ministry leaders think of when they consider communications. For this reason, it’s easy to overpromote (when most people talk about “overcommunicating,” they’re really talking about overpromoting). Church leadership must develop a good “heavy-medium-light” framework for promoting events and ministries, and a good framework for understanding that the church is not a convoluted “house of brands” like Proctor & Gamble, but a family.
Teaching (“Thus says the Word of the Lord … ”)
Communications’ primary role in the church’s teaching ministry is to provide a home for sermon series archives and to publish related content, such as blog articles, devotional literature and Sunday bulletin sermon notes.
Other “teaching” roles dovetail with our conversations role—for instance, answering social media queries on doctrine/beliefs, by:
- Supplying a short statement
- And/or linking to an appropriate sermon, blog post or web page.
As I said, the conversations-promotions-teaching spheres can and will overlap, but you’ll do well to think about them separately. Assess your communications performance frequently, asking, “How are we doing with conversations? Promotions? Teaching?” If you’re weak in one or more sphere, you’ll need to make some adjustments—even if you do a stellar job in the remaining sphere or two.