3 Reasons Every Church Needs a Solid Communications Department
The Senior Pastor or Worship Pastor are often clearly defined roles in church organizational structures. Their work is often the most visible – without a Worship Pastor on Sunday, you would surely notice if there were no music.
But what about a communications department? There has been a rising understanding for the need of a communications specialist or director ever since work-from-home orders were put into place in mid-March this year. With the inability to communicate in person each week or even daily, it's evident that consistent communication with your staff and congregation or clients is a critical need that's becoming more digitized over time.
If you’re a small to mid-size church, you may not even have a communications department. If you do, you may not have a full grasp of what they do. You may even be undervaluing the important work they do behind the scenes to advance the mission of your church.
Here are three reasons every church needs a solid communications department:
1. Their Work Has Valuable External Impact
A communications department can have numerous responsibilities: bulletin production, editing, and proofing; content generation, whether for print, email, mailers, posters, social media, or video; and dispersing information thoroughly and professionally.
The communications department also handles all the branding work of your church – making sure your logo and colors are uniform on different mediums and creating digital copy for your website in a consistent voice. This work ensures the integrity of your brand and establishes credibility in your local community.
The communications department also helps tremendously by creating engaging content. This has been particularly important with ministries operating from home. Some ways the communications department can bring value to your team are by blogging, posting on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and finding stories in the congregation to highlight and share – powerful content that will inspire, encourage, and move both your congregation and those in the local community.
It's critical to have a consistent voice and brand across your communication channels, so you can build trust and share your values clearly with your congregation. The work done by the communications department is key to establishing your church's message in the local community in a compelling and inspiring manner.
2. They Ensure Everyone Stays Informed
When you need to send out information to the entire church or the community, the communications team can help. They can find a way to say difficult things – such as crisis communications or helping let people know about a death, staff departure, or transitions involving senior leadership – in a way that is diplomatic, professional and still sensitive and comforting.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August of 2017, many people stepped up to volunteer time, supplies, and resources to rebuild and respond to immediate needs following the storm. With the help of their communications departments, churches mobilized volunteers and resources, and served as a point of connection and even refuge for displaced families. Because of teams devoted to coordinating crisis communication efforts, many churches were able to have a significant impact in the local community.
Three years later, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, communication became even more important for comforting and connecting with people who were afraid, isolated, or impacted by the devastating effects of the virus.
In times of crisis, a solid team of communicators will bring tremendous value so the rest of your staff can focus on other areas of need.
3. They Creatively Connect With Different Audiences
When I worked on staff at a church in Houston, I was part of the communications team. Every week, we would have round-table discussions about what was happening in the life of the church and what kinds of stories we heard about how God was working. We published a monthly magazine and a weekly feature in a bulletin insert that highlighted some of these stories. These were some of my favorite meetings because I loved the creative and inspiring work of sharing how God was moving in the lives of our congregation.
The communications team ideally is made up of people who find purpose and excitement in seeking out these stories and telling them well. You might include a videographer or a graphic designer as part of your communications team – they can use unique gifts to encourage and inspire the church and other in your local community.
Whether you’re reevaluating the goals of your communications team or building a new team from scratch, a solid communications department can be a valuable asset for the growth of your church.
What responsibilities does your Communications Team have? How could your church benefit from having a communications team?
This article was originally published on April 26, 2018 and was updated and republished on April 14, 2020.