Churches & A Strategic Social Communications Plan

Chances are your church leadership is sitting down to re-think about your planned & assumed strategies for this new year. But here’s a question: How many of you will ask “How?” as much as you think about “What?” when it comes to online social networking, communication strategies and media development?

At a time when text messaging is overtaking cell calls and online usage is growing exponentially, many churches are still operating from a place of ignorance when it comes to leveraging technology for more effective communication.

With the economy in a recession, many of you will be looking at cost-cutting and budget reductions in an effort to be wise and good stewards over the projected monthly giving. Financial belt-tightening is a good start, but may either be too much or too little based on the effectiveness of the budgeted ministry, item or event.

For example, if your printing and mailing costs are reduced by 10%, it’s possible that the effectiveness of those mailers was so minimal that reducing them by a small percentage isn’t enough of a cut in an area that needs further reduction. Conversely, not properly evaluating the usefulness and interactivity of online communications and information may lead to a budget shortfall in an area that needs time, money and people (even outsourcing).

Getting a Fresh Perspective
It’s not enough to simply ask “What should we do about our communications, online presence and media?” The church leadership must also ask “How?” and, the most important question, “Why?” Of course, those kinds of questions should extend into the evaluation, metrics and tracking of every ministry of the church. I think it’s good to consider this quote God gave to me years ago: “Good stewardship has less to do with how much money is saved and more to do with how much money isn’t wasted.”

When have you had an outsider come in and help you look at your church from an outsider’s perspective? That’s what I do. In fact, I think the best compliment I ever received from a senior pastor was when he said “We brought in a media consultant and I felt we got an entire church consultant.” That really humbled me and made me so glad to know that I’m doing exactly what God wants me to do!

2009 has started and I’m wanting to see churches take a new look at how they can become more effective and leverage new technologies while simultaneously ensuring that they’re making the most with what they’ve got right now.


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