Article Art by Jeff Miller

Many Communicators, One Voice

Posted by Tim Schraeder on July 01, 2012.

Author: Tim Schraeder

Regardless of the size of your church, there’s no question there are multiple people communicating on its behalf. From your senior pastor on Sunday mornings to the messages printed in your bulletin or posted on your website, there are many different ways your church communicates. Even with multiple touch points, your church has one singular voice that people hear. Therein lies the challenge – having many communicators and only one voice.

Signal vs Noise

A signal is a clear and concise because it’s unified. Signals are easy to pick up and are easy for people to tune into. Noise, on the other hand is exactly that. Noise. It’s fragmented and all over the place. It’s hard to decipher and eventually people tune out. When it comes to the messages your church communicates, are you being a signal or are you being noisy with your communication?

When it comes to the messages your church communicates, are you being a signal or are you being noisy with your communication?

Signal

  • Consistent, accurate messaging and information across all communication platforms (announcements, print, web, social media, etc).
  • Communicating a unified vision and cause.
  • Care and attention given to the messages being communicated.
  • An agreed upon set of communication principles/values.

Noise

  • Misinformation or conflicting details across different communication platforms.
  • Different ministries having their own missions/vision statements; ministries working in silos – focused on their own initiatives.
  • Careless or haphazard approach to how things are announced.
  • Inconsistent branding, tone, or style.

Consistent Messaging

There are simple ways you can make sure the messages you communicate are consistent. You don’t necessarily need to have someone whose sole job is focused on communication. You simply need to have a central point where everyone can access the information that needs to be communicated. That could be as easy as a GoogleDoc. Then, as things are posted online, shared on Twitter, or announced on Sunday mornings, you can be assured that the information is coming from the same source.

There’s nothing more frustrating for your congregation than for there to be missing or conflicting information about events and opportunities at your church. Details matter. Find a way to create a central “hub” of information that people can access. Then be sure to double-check that all the information is consistent across all forms of communication your church creates.

Find a way to create a central “hub” of information that people can access.

A Unified Vision and Cause

Vision matters and I believe every church has a unique one that’s been God-given. Your vision should fuel everything your church does to reach people for Christ and should be the central filter through which you communicate your messages. When things tie back to the vision, it makes what you communicate even more powerful.

When ministries start to create their own mission or vision statements it can take away from the greater vision of your church.

When ministries start to create their own mission or vision statements it can take away from the greater vision of your church. Imagine the power of a church whose ministries were all serving their own unique audiences but all working together to fulfill the same vision. That’s inspiring! Having a unified vision around what you communicate will indirectly bring all of your messages together.

Care and Attention

Our words matter and language is often our first impression. So why would we take how and what we communicate lightly? Great care and attention should be given to how we communicate messages – especially during our church services.

While the debate over church announcements will probably wage on until Christ returns, whatever is announced should be done with great intentionality. Choose your words wisely and help move people forward in their spiritual journey. Speak with conviction and write with a compelling call to action. The more passionately you communicate, the more you can rally people to action!

Set Principles and Values

Even if there are multiple people who communicate to your congregation, you can have an agreed upon set of principles and values that guide how you communicate. Some churches have created an agreed upon set of language or terms that they will use in their communication [example: saying ‘seekers’ instead of ‘lost’ or ‘accepting Christ’ instead of ‘getting saved’]. Others have created style guides to bring unity to things that are written and designed for printed and online communications. Taking the time to create communication values or style guidelines is well worth the effort. Simple things like that can bring clarity, unity, and consistency to what you create.

It’s Not What You Say It’s What People Hear

Ultimately, regardless of how much care and attention you put into the messages you communicate, it’s what people hear that makes a difference. The more intentionality and focus you give to creating simple ways to unify your message,  the more loudly and clearly they will be heard. Even across multiple platforms, the more united the voice, the greater the impact.

About the Author

Tim Schraeder
Tim is obsessed with all things social media. Having worked with some of the world’s largest churches and para-church organizations, he served as an evangelist for social media with a knack for connecting people and spreading ideas that matter. He’s been a consultant and coach as well as a sought-after speaker and previously served as the co-director of the Center for Church Communication.

4 Comments

  1. I would love to see examples of communication values or style guidelines.

    1. Great post Tim! Something our church is right in the middle of

      Agreed with Patty also. Examples would be great to work off of.

  2. “You simply need to have a central point where everyone can access the information that needs to be communicated. That could be as easy as a GoogleDoc. Then, as things are posted online, shared on Twitter, or announced on Sunday mornings, you can be assured that the information is coming from the same source.” —-> I would love to see someone who has put this into action. Great article, Tim!

  3. Mate great post. I think any church that applies this and becomes more intentional about their communication will communicate more effectively and increase their influence.


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