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Church Engagement

How to Discover the Big Picture in Church Communication

This post talks about how to find the big picture for your church. It's the part of our series on church engagement.

We’ve all heard it before: “Look at the big picture.” It didn’t occur to me until recently that the key word here is “picture.”

Focusing on the big picture, or taking a step back, is not a problem. The problem is knowing what the picture is. What are we even looking at in the first place?

If you’re in the world of church communication, you know it has many moving parts. (Oh boy, does it have moving parts…) But I often wonder if we really understand how these parts fit together to form a picture. And how big is it?

As humans, we often compare ourselves to others. We’re quick to applaud other people’s work, but remain our own toughest critics. Think about it – you’ve likely noticed that some churches seem to have everything going for them. From the outside, it looks like they have perfect social media calendars, communication request processes, volunteers, leadership, and more.

When we see other churches that seem to have everything, it’s easy to feel discouraged. You might wonder what you’re doing wrong or if your work is even accomplishing anything.

All Churches Do Not Share a Big Picture

But here’s the thing: comparing yourself to another church won’t accomplish anything. In many cases, it’s not even a fair comparison. Consider this:

A mega church’s “big picture” includes many campuses, ministries, services, programs, staff members, maaaaaany volunteers, and a budget that simply can’t compare with that of a smaller church.

Though that might be a perfect setup for some people, others find more comfort in smaller communities. If your church is smaller or located in a different kind of community, you’re not doing anything wrong; you’re just doing things differently.

With that realization, you can start to understand that your big picture will not look like any other church’s – and that’s good! You see, church communication is first about seeing YOUR big picture, understanding it and embracing it, and then figuring out which moving pieces (or strategies) work best.  

How to Discover Your Church’s Big Picture

We’ve identified that it’s important to understand your church's big picture. But how can you uncover it?

These steps will help get you started:

  1. Start a spreadsheet and list all the tasks that your church communication department currently carries out. I really mean every single one – include trivial tasks, like picking up printouts or preparing sermon slides.
  2. Next to each task, mark the person responsible for it. Only one person per task please!
  3. Then, assign a value to it. Is this a task this person loves, is okay with, or dislikes?
  4. Finally, qualify it: is this a task this person is really good at, okay at or not good at?

Click here to download an example spreadsheet.

Reviewing your list will help you identify important trends:

  1. Who is overloaded?
  2. What can be automated or delegated?
  3. Which tasks are unnecessary?

This list gives you visual insight into your big picture. Is it time to recruit more volunteers or expand your staff? Maybe you need to divide tasks differently so that people are playing to their strengths and the right person is in the right role.

What else did you identify in yours?

Final Thoughts + Further Reading

Church announcements are an essential part of church communication. However, have you ever noticed that people often don't remember what you review during your weekly announcements? Though you might be speaking to a room full of people who hear you, it's quite possible that not many are listening. Here are Four Ways to Make Your Church Announcements Great.

About Barbara

Barbara Carneiro is the owner of Word Revolution (a communication agency for Christian ministries) and the brain behind 4:12 Lab (a training program for church communication). She is a disciple, Christ follower, forever curious strategist, speaker, storyteller and geek. You’ll make her happy with a white chocolate mocha.

Photo credit: Jesse Sewell