A new year is nearly upon us. Time for all those year-end round-ups. What was the best story, movie, show, app, trend, etc. of 2017? Let’s look forward instead. What are you going to do in 2018 to help your church reach more people and have a better impact in your community? Here are five things you can resolve to do in 2018.
1. Cut the communications clutter
Too many churches are still giving members and guests too much information. In the new year, how about keeping it to one or two announcements in worship? How about cutting the announcements in your bulletin down to one page? What if you cut out the bulletin altogether? Not all of these will work in every church. But realize, people are inundated with information from the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep. Don’t add to their chaos. Decide what messages are essential for your church to share and do a great job with them.
2. Get around to updating your website, or finally get one.
Websites have quickly moved from being a great new way to reach new members and communicate with your congregation to an assumed requirement of being a church. An effective, modern, well-maintained website is now essential as a sign out front or a telephone number.
3. Add online giving.
This may not seem like a communications issue, but it is. Not only is online giving essential in an economy that is becoming cash-less and check-less, the availability of the service speaks volumes about your church. Churches that refuse to adopt modern financial practices communicate that they are resistant to change. There are aspects of the church that should and will never change. While our commitment to the core tenants of the Gospel are unchanging, to reach new generations, we need to grow and change on things that aren’t gospel. We seem to be fine with indoor plumbing and air conditioning, and they aren’t in the Bible. It is time to remove another obstacle that gets in the way of true discipleship.
4. Get serious about email.
I don’t understand why, but email continues to be one of the most effective channels for communication. Unfortunately, too many churches are still using ineffective email practices. Cutting and pasting every email you have into the “to:” “cc:” or “bcc:” field, then cutting and pasting most of the newsletter content into the body just doesn’t cut it anymore. There are a few problems with this. One, a lot of these emails end up in spam folders. Two, there is no way to tell if anyone opens the emails or what sort of content they interact with.
In 2018, get onboard with a service like MailChimp or Constant Contact and get your message out there.
5. Live Stream
I am not sure if you notice, but not all of your church’s members are there every Sunday. If you are lucky, on any given Sunday, half of your members are somewhere else. Recent studies show that even committed church members attend about twice a month. While it would be best for everyone to be in church every Sunday, no one has figured out a magic way for that to happen. What if, even when they are out, they could be connected? It is cheaper and easier than ever to live stream your church service. Members on the road, in the hospital, in assisted living, or just home on the couch can see, hear, and interact with worship. It is certainly better than not being there at all. And there is a bonus, first-time guests might like the first time to be a little less threatening. They can experience worship, hear the sermon and make a better decision about coming in person next week.
So, what do you plan to do to improve communications at your church in 2018? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.