To communicate effectively in the 21st century you have to:
- Give people the information they want.
- Give it to them via the medium they want to receive it.
Most churches have a lot of ministries and a lot of activities going on – children’s ministry, student ministry, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, small group ministry, music ministry, and on and on. Everyone in the church wants information about the ministries they’re involved in, but they don’t want information about everything else. That can be a challenge.
Everyone has their own preferred communications channel or medium.
- RSS feed
- Text message
Communicating to each person via his or her preferred medium can be a challenge.
Recently, I started thinking about a unique strategy that could meet both of these challenges.
Spider Webs and Bunnies
My church’s website utilizes a content management system (CMS). One benefit of the CMS is you can give staff and volunteers specific permissions to update just their ministry’s section of the site. We’ve had this capability for years, yet still only 1 or 2 people update the site and pretty much just the homepage, news, and sermon media. Ministry leaders don’t update their sections at all.
The CMS also has a great newsletter component which can accommodate multiple newsletters and lets church members sign-up to receive whichever newsletters they’d like to receive. Unfortunately no ministries are using this feature either.
Instead, an interesting thing has happened. A while back student ministry decided they wanted their own blog. Then the worship arts team decided to start a blog. The sermons are podcast via a blog. A couple weeks ago the children’s ministry started a blog.
The website is collecting spider webs while blogs are multiplying like bunnies.
One option would be to try to fight the trend and try to convince everyone to shut down their blogs and post updates to the church website. But, I started to think maybe this could be the start of a viable church communications strategy.
A Blog-Centric Strategy
So, here’s the idea…
- The church creates a main blog where it posts important announcements, sermon media, and messages from the pastor.
- Every ministry is encouraged to create their own blog either WordPress hosted in the churches account or a free blogging service if they prefer.
- Set up Feedburner for each blog, so people can get updates via RSS if they want.
- Feedburner has an email subscription option, so people can get updates via email if they want.
- Each ministry can create a Facebook page and set it up to import updates automatically from the blog.
- Each ministry can create a Twitter account. There are several free services like TwitterFeed that will automatically tweet entries from an RSS feed.
- There are even seem to be some services like U2Q.me that provide text message alerts when there’s a new entry in an RSS feed. (I haven’t tested them yet, though.)
- Every ministry can have a relatively static page on the church website with links to the blog, RSS feed, subscribe by email, Facebook page, Twitter profile, and get text alerts
This strategy gives everyone in the church the ability to get updates from the specific ministries they’re interested in and they can get those updates in just about every possible medium. And best of all, ministry team leaders seem likely to actually update their blogs. 🙂
What do you think? Is this a viable internal communications strategy? What potential problems can you foresee?