“Sunday is coming!” is a catch phrase I’ve heard spoken often at the church where I am on staff. You can see it in action as the children’s ministry volunteers prep the classrooms each week and you can feel it as the worship team plans and locks in the service flow. Indeed it is true that Sunday is always coming!
As communications and marketing professionals, our roles sometimes fit into this week-in, week-out process but hopefully you are also creating communication plans that strategically plan the weeks and months ahead. Whether or not we realize it, the plans we make and execute are creating a story that the people in your church experience. As the people often driving what is communicated to the Church and to the people you are trying to reach, Church Communicators have the opportunity to hone in on the current narrative and consider whether or not it is the story your church actually wants to tell.
Here are 3 ways that storytelling could influence your role in communications and marketing:
1. Gain a deeper understanding of the why’s. What matters in the way your church does service each week and why? What does your church exist to do? Are the ways you are communicating and expressing the voice of the church reflective of what matters most to your church? Creating and leading with values and mission upfront helps create a consistent, trustworthy experience and a checkpoint that can always be referred back to.
2. Consider what Sunday to Sunday could add up to over a year. While most ministries probably need to operate on a week to week basis, the communications and/or marketing role has a unique opportunity to drive the larger story that’s being told and experienced by your church. If you run on a traditional ministry year cycle, questions you might ask to determine the larger story include:
- Is the “larger story” directly correlating with our mission or vision as a whole or can we focus in on a component of our mission or vision to create greater clarity and buy-in?
- What do we want to have accomplished by the end of this ministry year?
- How could we plan out the year in a way that intentionally moves toward the goal and creates a sense of momentum throughout the year?
- What are large events or special Sundays that could generate momentum?
- What smaller events, digital engagement through social media, or other strategies could ensure that we keep focused and don’t lose the momentum we’ve gained?
- What opportunities are there for the various ministries of your church to be an extension of this focus and create a unified experience for church attenders?
3. Allow the larger story to drive overarching communication and marketing plans. Once you know the goal to be accomplished by the end of the ministry year you can determine the steps it will take to reach the goal, break them down and create to them! Have fun brainstorming ways to extend and fill out the story beyond Sundays through experiences on the church campus, social media, email, and more.
As Church Communicators we get to share the greatest story of all time. How could storytelling make a difference in your role and at your church?