Church Communication: When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Church communication when you don't know where to start
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Church Communication: When You Don’t Know Where to Start

I recently had the opportunity to run into Barbara Carneiro at a conference. She runs the Church Communications Strategies Group over on Facebook among other things. I asked her to help with a question that I get more often than you might think: where do you start? Like literally – what do you do to start building a strategic church communications plan. Enjoy today’s post where she gives some concrete first steps to tackle in your quest to do it right.

I’d love to learn calligraphy. But I don’t know where to start. I’d love to have my own veggie garden. But I don’t know where to start. I’d love to [fill in the blank]. But I don’t know where to start.

What is it about “getting started” that gets us so paralyzed? I couldn’t answer this question either, so I just googled it.

(Don’t do it, there seems to be a lot of songs with the title “I don’t know where to start”. This should be an indicator that this is a real life struggle.)
I really really love calligraphy and having my own garden is still in my wish list.

Even though I may not know where to start I am always paying attention to the people that have mastered those things. I often follow people that master calligraphy online. I particularly like Liss Smith because she often shares mesmerizing videos of her beautiful calligraphy.

She makes it look so easy!

I day dreamed about buying the calligraphy pens to give it a shot, but I’ve fallen for tools before with no result. I can see myself with a box filled with calligraphy pens not sure where to start.

Until one day, Liss started promoting her calligraphy course. The simplicity of it all is mind blowing. Her step-by-step has allowed me to get started.

There is power in shadowing someone who has been there before. Share on X

It’s like sitting on the shoulders of giants.

Two short lessons later I’m confident I can do this. I found a place to start. When I started, I was literally learning to rewrite each letter of the alphabet.

Church communication when you don't know where to start

So, where do you start when you don’t know where to start with church communication?

The basics of communication involve a sender and a recipient. And that’s where we have to begin.

I know this sounds very generic, but stay with me.

When was the last time you sat down and understood your church’s voice? Or discovered who you are as a church? Or asked yourself questions that clearly define you as a church?

And when was the last time you outlined who you are speaking to? Who are you better prepared to serve? Who is around you?

Start with this simple exercise, and add points if you get leadership to do it with you!

Questions about you (the sender):

  • What is your story?
  • What words describe your church?
  • Describe how much better things will be for a person when they visit or become a part of your church.
  • What do you do very well?
  • What could you improve on?

Questions about your audience (the recipient):

  • Name the group of people you want engaging with you.
  • Describe the emotions of each group.
  • What is the number 1 question I get asked all the time?
  • What is their greatest hesitation in trying out my church?
  • What is the best way to engage with this audience?
  • How do your members describe your church?

Spend time brainstorming together. Answering these questions about the sender and recipient will bring clarity to who you are as a church and who is around you.

photo credit:

barbara carneiro Barbara is the owner of Word Revolution (a communication agency for Christian ministries) and the brain behind 4:12 Lab (a training program for Church Communication). She is a Christ follower, forever curious strategist, storyteller and geek. You will make her happy with a white chocolate mocha.

Kenny Jahng is a content marketing advisor and communications strategist who helps nonprofit, cause-driven and faith-based organizations / churches. You can connect with Kenny on Twitter @kennyjahng

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