Good communication is at the heart of our work as church renewal leaders. Why? The goal of church renewal is transformation. Transformation requires change. Change requires trust. Trust requires communication.
- Good communication creates the fertile ground for renewal, but poor communication adds weeds to the soil. Especially in times of change, leaders must be intentional and strategic about communicating often and well.
The Seven Cs of Church Renewal Communications
Principle 1: Common Ground
- During change, people naturally fear what they might lose. Good communicators acknowledge this fear right away and assure congregants that the church’s core values will remain unchanged.
- In the first few sentences of any communication, it is important to establish common ground to make it clear that everyone is on the same team, and everyone is aiming for the same goal.
Principle 2: Clear
- People today do not appreciate overly complicated language. They generally do not have the patience to read and re-read and re-read a sentence to try and understand what it means. They will simply delete your email and move on to the next thing in their inbox.
- When you edit your communications, ruthlessly strip away or rephrase anything that could be misread. Make it your goal for every reader to be able to easily grasp the meaning on the first read.
Principle 3: Concise
- In the age of social media’s 15-second videos, people are easily distracted. Condensing your message will make it much more powerful.
- In school, many of us learned to inflate our word count to meet a professor’s requirement. In church communication, the opposite should be your goal. How few words can you use to get the point across?
Principle 4: Concrete
- Jesus taught in parables for a reason. The Creator of humanity knew something about humans — we learn best through stories!
- Speaking in abstractions is easy. Illustrating concepts with vivid word pictures takes time, but it is time well spent!
Principle 5: Context
- We all speak to our mothers differently than we do to our best friends. Context determines what we share and how we share it.
- When we communicate at church, we have to consider our audience too. What previous knowledge do they have? What concerns are most important to them? How much detail do they need? What level of formality is appropriate? Proper contextualization will make your message much more effective.
Principle 6: Considerate
- You can tell when someone is prepared and when they are not. Before setting out to write a church communication, make sure you have spent enough time considering the issue thoroughly.
- Before announcing a decision, it is important to do the slow work of building consensus. Have you listened well to key stakeholders? Have you given people an opportunity to weigh in before expecting them to buy in?
Principle 7: Consistent
- Preachers can sometimes have an overly optimistic view of the power of a one-time communication. The reality is that people need a regular slow-drip infusion of culture over time.
- The work of communication is never done. As soon as one article is published or one email is sent, the work on the next one should begin!
What important issue is before your church that requires a good communication strategy?
Reply and let us know how you are approaching the challenge!