A Blog-centric Multi-Ministry, Multi-Channel Church Communications Strategy

church communications via blogsTo communicate effectively in the 21st century you have to:

  1. Give people the information they want.
  2. 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.

  • Website
  • Email
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • 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?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

15 Responses to “A Blog-centric Multi-Ministry, Multi-Channel Church Communications Strategy”

  1. I like this idea overall, and in theory it should make a ton of sense. But getting it to work is more about the people and process than about the technology. We tried something like this at our church's site, integrating blogs into everything and it turns out: no one really wants to blog. HOWEVER, this is now 2010 where EVERYONE has a Facebook account. OK, almost everyone. So this may work more now than it did when we went live three years ago.

    • Dave, thanks for your feedback. I agree it's more about the people and the process. The main reason I think this may work at my church is because we do not have to try to get ministry leaders to blog. They're already blogging ministry updates on their own.

  2. Great articles Paul.

  3. Thanks Charles. Glad you found the blog. Hope you'll be a regular reader & commenter.

  4. Hey Paul. It know this is out in the open but I don't have anything to hide. Can I get your permission to reprint your articles on web design etc. as long as I give you the credit and mention OurChurch?

    We have a wide array of people from all over the world that hit our sites. Actually I am waiting for our software developer right now to unfreeze my home page but other than that, we have a flag counter that shows 948 unique visitors.

  5. Church-Mart.com, Schoolgenius.com, Trip-Ways.com, Integrity-Marketing.com and others plus numerous blogs.

  6. Hi Charles, please don't post entire articles, but you're welcome to post excerpts and link to the rest of the article.

  7. This all sounds very good, but it really requires commitment not just from the individual ministry leaders but also from the pastor. As a bivocational pastor of a small, rural church, I have tried to blog but never get it done … best I can do on occasion is to put in a summary piece from my sermon. No one really looked at it, and honestly it didn't really deserve to be looked at. But I can't whip out an insightful, wise, and provocative blog in the 3 minutes I have available. So I deleted the blog from our website.

    Blessings,

    Cal

    • Cal, the blogs used in this communications strategy don't have "insightful, wise, and provocative" posts. They just have news. The blogs are just the tool to convey that news. Here's an example:

      http://nextgencypress.blogspot.com

      What makes me optimistic about this is because the news posted to each blog can be automatically distributed to Facebook, Twitter, and email updates. So, people can get the news they want through the site/tool they already use.

  8. Several people in our church do have Facebook accounts. I haven't yet set up a Facebook page for the church. Maybe that is a compromise. I can come up with a cogent paragraph in about 3 miinutes sometimes.

  9. Thanks Paul, yes, we should absolutely give people as many easy options as they want. Some only want email. Others love the quick overview that Twitter gives them. Maybe others only want stuff on GoogleReader. Or on their Facebook page because that's the main place they go when online. It's not about us, it's about them!

  10. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about A Blog-centric Multi-Ministry, Multi-Channel Church Communications Strategy | Christian Web Trends Blog .

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