During one of our recent marriage ministry webinars, a church leader asked how she could better work with the communications staff at her church. She was having trouble getting marriage content added to the website and social media. Maybe this is a challenge you can relate to.
Luckily for you, I worked in communications at churches for a few years. And I still work with a few different church communication organizations. So I know how most church communicators work and think. I know how you can work with them to increase visibility of your marriage ministry.
Because believe it or not, marriage ministry and church communications have a lot in common. Mostly because they’re both under-appreciated and overlooked. Leaders in both fields are overworked and under resourced.
So what if we worked together to serve one another?
Have a Strategy
Most churches don’t have an organized strategy to reach married couples. In the same way, most don’t have much of a communications plan. These are two areas where everything seems last minute and guesswork.
This is something that frustrates church communicators. Because they can see how ineffective unplanned communications work can be. They know the data behind the church’s website, social media, and event promotions.
They try to be more strategic, but that can be difficult when every ministry is equally as disorganized and makes non-stop communications requests. You can help alleviate this burden by creating a strategy of your own. This will make both of your jobs easier.
Last-minute requests are one of the most irritating and challenging things about a church communicator’s job. We’ve heard all of the excuses for last-minute stuff.
- “I know it’s Saturday, but can you just add this to the bulletin?”
- “Would you mind promoting this event that’s happening tomorrow?”
- “This needs to be posted to our Facebook page as soon as possible.”
- “What do you mean you can’t design a sermon graphic in 15 minutes?”
But you can be different. Your ministry can be the exception to the last-minute request rule. Make requests from your communications person early. They may not be able to get to it right away, but they’ll appreciate the time you gave them.
When I worked in church communications, I always noticed the ministries that sent me their stuff early. And I liked working with them a lot more than those ministries that were perpetually late.
One of the things that makes last-minute requests so frustrating is how disorganized they are. That’s what happens when you don’t have a ministry strategy and wait until the last minute. So one of the cures to both of these is to get organized.
Don’t just make a rushed, vague communications request. Be specific with what you’re looking for. And then provide all of the files and information the church communications person needs. For example, if you’re promoting a marriage event, at least give them the date, time, location, contact person, and an image to post to the website and social media.
Even better, see if you can get a quick planning meeting with the communications team before the event. That way, you can find out what you need to get organized to send to them. They’ll take your event a lot more seriously because you took the time to get your stuff together.
Build a Relationship
No matter how many communications requests you have to make, don’t let that be your only relationship with the communications staff at your church. Don’t let the only times you talk to them be when you need something from them.
Instead, take some time to get to know them better. Learn more about them personally and everything their job entails. Take them out to lunch at least once—because nothing forms relationships quite like free food.
If you have a good relationship with the communications person at your church, it will be easier to make those requests. You’ll know when are bad times to ask for stuff. And they’ll be a lot more understanding when you do.
How can you better work with your communications staff to promote your ministry?
Robert Carnes is the editor on the MarriedPeople team. He’s worked in marketing and communications for a number of churches and nonprofits. Robert lives in Atlanta with his wife, Victoria.
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