Target Different Groups – whether you’re a church of 100 members or 1,500 members – the most important communication thing you can do is find a way to directly communicate to the group you’re trying to reach. Promoting a youth event – how do you communicate to just the youth and their parents? Promoting a Men’s Bible Study – how do you communicate to just the men who need information about the Bible Study? Why is this important? All events – even those targeted at specific audiences – should be included in the bulletin and website, however, these communications are easily ignored or glossed over. But if a person sees that you are targeting a communication at just 15 people they feel like you’re talking to them and they have a much greater buy in.
Multiple Forms of Communication – it’s important that you communicate for the same event in multiple ways. Here are some ideas:
1. Texting – group texting is the main way that I communicate with my youth group and my young adult group. It makes me sad to say this, but it is much easier to group text with Android than iOS. With Android, you can just create a group in gmail on your PC and then type that group on your phone and voila. With iOS, you need an app if you are going to text a large group. I use “Group Text.” It’s not perfect – especially the first month after any big iOS update, but it has worked really well for me.
Pros of Texting
- it’s hard to ignore a text – it’s easy to ignore an e-mail or website
- I only use texting pretty close to an event and I only use it on big events or big deadlines – texting works extremely well for these big events
- You can set up groups however you like. I group text my young adult group every week. There’s another group I only text a few times a year who are people I’m trying to get plugged into our program so I tell them about big events they are more likely to attend.
Cons of Texting
- You can easily overuse group texting – so don’t send a text off for every event if you’ve got a lot of people on your list who aren’t regulars – this adds too much pressure – find the balance
- There have been several times when I can’t tell if a text has gone through or not. Turns out, about half went through and the other half didn’t. So, I added myself to every text list so I know when the text goes through. Problem solved.
- Phone numbers change – I’ve had a few times where I thought a youth was hearing from me but they weren’t – now I ask at youth group once a month if everyone got my texts
2. Blog – I use a blog to communicate with the parents of youth in our youth group. Unlike a church website which is static (homepage mainly stays the same) – a blog is dynamic (homepage always changing) – most recent post always at the top. I use Feedburner, which is owned by Google, as the blog’s subscriptions service. So, every time I update the blog it sends out an e-mail. So, whenever I get a parent’s e-mail address I immediately sign them up for the blog. And each year after Confirmation Sunday, I personally enter every Confirmand’s parent’s e-mail address so they will start receiving the updates. I use GoDaddy for hosting space, WordPress.org for blogging, and WooThemes for the blog theme. Check out this blog on how to set up a blog if you’re interested.
3. Facebook/Twitter – Facebook can be great for ministry communication and it can also be not so great. I use Facebook to communicate events and prayer concerns with the youth. So, whenever I update our blog – I update Facebook with the same information. Facebook for youth and the blog for parents.
The idea with Facebook is for it be a conversation, but that has proven quite difficult. People will “like” things, but it takes some guts to comment. Nobody comments on anything for 6 months and then somebody writes a rant that is visible to your entire group. Not helpful. However, it still has value and I’m still using it.
4. Website – an up to date church website that clearly states worship times and your location is the biggest electronic evangelism tool you have. Keeping your website up to date is paramount, but it is also a chore. Set up one day a week where you update it or delegate that out to somebody who will follow through and do it. The quickest way to send someone fleeing from your website is to still be promoting an event that took place two months ago or – even worse – a year ago.
5. E-mail – group e-mail can be a great way to communicate. It just depends on your group and how widely you’re trying to reach. This is the main way I communicated with groups in the 2000s.
- The biggest problem with e-mail is church workers write too much – so keep group e-mails short and simple – use bullet points whenever possible
- People don’t always read their e-mail! They read e-mails they have to and pass over church communications like they are spam. This obviously isn’t everybody, but the percentage has been growing every year for a decade.
Join the conversation. What is the main way your church communicates with different groups? Have you had a different experience? Anything you’d add to this list?