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The following is a guest blog by Cynthia Ware, Executive Director of the Center for Church Communications

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. – Albert Einstein

This past week concludes one of the busiest weeks of the year for many of us who are church staff members.  It takes work to pull it off all the things associated with Good Friday and Easter.  When you put a lot of effort into something, it helps to define how you’ll measure your success right? It’s foolish, for example, to go to all the trouble of going on a diet but never weigh in and see what your progress has been!  I read that in a book.  So, does your church put effort into whatever they communicate during Easter?

Great communicators want results.  So, great communicators measure. They are constantly re-calibrating their message so they can connect with their intended audience and produce a result. This doesn’t mean the message changes; this means the message is specifically tailored for a particular audience. And then, the astute communicator will consider whether the message accomplished its intended purpose. Think of all the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to different audiences based on unique circumstances and particular needs.

As a person who helps churches communicate as effectively as possible, I’ve got a vested interest in understanding what tools help us communicate effectively.  And these days churches are beginning to embrace a somewhat holistic approach to communication involving many channels and many tools.  By evaluating both their online and offline communication resources, churches are ensuring a consistency of message and the possible complementary use of multiple communication platforms to accomplish the task of addressing those who have ears to hear.

We know that offline communication resources have been used by churches for years. These channels include word-of-mouth, traditional print (newspaper articles & ads, Yellow Pages ads) media, billboards, flyers, posters, banners, postcards, bumper stickers, radio, tv, etc.  Newly popular online communication channels would include e-mail campaigns, websites (with SEO positioning), webinars, blogs, micro-blogging, RSS feeds, podcasts, livestreaming and Internet Campuses.

When a church is using (and measuring) both off and online communication, it’s known as an integrated communication program.  The goal of selecting certain elements of a proposed integrated communications program is to communicate effectively and consistently across media platforms.

There are several macro-trends your church leadership could be aware of in order to communicate more effectively via an integrated communication program.  Note these shifts:

  • From “traditional media” to multiple forms of communication (everything from webinars & podcasts to micro-blogging & vidcasting).
  • From limited internet access to 24/7 internet availability and access to messages and services across any mobile platform.
  • From a big business dominated culture to a user-generated content & consumer-influenced culture.
  • From a “we take care of our own” mentality to a refocusing on benefits for the common good (community).
  • From broadcast-style media to more specialized narrow-casting or niche media, often centered around specific target or need-defined groups.

Following last weekend’s Easter services, I recommend debriefing with all those who helped your church communicate over Easter.  Did you use an integrated communication program?  Whose attention were you trying to attract?  Was your communication directed towards those who attend your church services or towards those who don’t?  Was your message tailored to fit a particular group or was it generic?  Did you see results from what you communicated and how?  Did you measure your success? Will you do the same thing for the next church event or will you make changes?

And most importantly, if your church excels in communicating with excellence, please speak up.  The Center for Church Communication is searching for great church communicators to showcase.

Recently, I spoke with my friend (and Center for Church Communications Executive Director) Cynthia Ware. She asked me to be a Regional Network Coordinator for the Center for Church Communications and I agreed. Last week she announced this on the CFCC website. Below is what she said:

Building a Team
In my own personal ministry experience I have found that I’m happiest when building and launching a team. It’s always fulfilling for me to gather a group of like-minds and harness their collective resource. The greatest thrill comes from discovering the distinctive talents of each individual—while all working together towards one common goal.

That’s why I’ve decided to establish a collective of Regional Network Coordinators for CFCC. These are simply friends and colleagues who we feel have something to offer as we identify, celebrate, inspire and resource a growing contingency of church communicators. They are diverse, some are well-known voices, others offer a unique perspective, etc.

What They Do
Our network of coordinators will simply function as eyes and ears on the ground in their respective areas of the country. They will help CFCC with behind the scenes projects and will point us to their favorite/most inspiring communicators and campaigns.

We have carefully selected these 18 individuals to act as local resources so that if anyone in their area needs communication resources they can point to CFCC. Likewise, we can learn from them what’s happening in their area and share those lessons, resources and ideas with the broader community. The goal is to offer some back and forth and ensure that CFCC is better plugged into the church communications community. This isn’t an exclusive club—we hope it will grow (especially in areas where we lack representation) and benefit the entire community.

As we all continue to improve our communication skills, we hope these coordinators will inspire us by pointing us to that which is good, true and beautiful in church communication.

Here is the list of Regional Network Coordinators:

CFCC 2010 Regional Network Coordinators

We hope you know some of these people and can be a support to us by directing them to examples you may know of that reflect excellence in church communications. If you’re part of our community, please visit their sites, familiarize yourself with their work and welcome them with comments.

*** So, like they asked, if you would: please feel free to direct me to examples you may know of that reflect excellence in church communications. Thanks!

I’ll leave today to go to California with Matt and Lance from Pursuant Group/Unifyer. We’ll be meeting with Brad Abare from ChurchMarketingSucks, Robert Yang from Kindle, visiting the Dream Center, Mosaic LA and other churches, as well as speaking at the ChurchTechCamp at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena on Friday.

Here’s what the Fall looks like:

I just saw this on Church Marketing Sucks. Let me take a breath. Chill – drink some Green Tea. BREATHE. I can’t tell you how much this angers me, frustrates me and honestly: breaks my heart. What the heck are these people thinking?

Friends, we are called to love and serve. Do you really think you can debate someone into Heaven? I remember years ago at a Willow Creek evangelism conference hearing Bill Hybels describe some of the long-term relationships that he’s in with lost friends. Yes, he considered them true “friends”. He said some he had been praying for for 5, 7, 10 years before they even asked about church or became a Believer. Some still haven’t. Some may never become a Christian. He’s committed to loving them and befriending them regardless. To paraphrase Hybels – he’s in it for the long haul and not just something to check off a spiritual list.

Personally, I’ve been thanking God for some of my non-Christian friends lately. I’ve interacted with people in-person, on the phone, through Facebook, Twitter and via email that are agnostic, a universalist, Muslim or Jewish. Our neighbors are Muslim. I LOVE it! I had a great conversation with a new Muslim friend the other day (who reads this blog). I hope to continue the relationship and develop a friendship.

I know the arrows will come. My email is greg@gregatkinson.com.

What do YOU think of this sign? I want to hear your voice. Also feel free to comment on CMS HERE.

Church Marketing Sucks, Tony Steward and Tony Morgan blogged about making Guy Kawasaki’s Modern Church Alltop List, so I will, too. 🙂

I am the 4th blogger listed on this very interesting list. So many of my friends and peers are listed here. This is a great place to check out some very relevant blogs worth reading! Thanks Guy! You can check it out HERE.

Thanks to Tony Steward for providing this:

*By the way, I encourage you to check out Tony’s “Internet Campus Starter Kit” blog – it’s great!