How are you communicating your ministry?
Working with or for a church, campus ministry or church camp is – to quote Jerry Maguire, “An up at dawn, pride swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about.” It is a non-stop treadmill of to-do lists, meetings, and ministry. We wear many hats to make the most impact. We sacrifice our weekends, family time, and holidays to better the cause of reaching out to our community and create an environment that brings people closer to Jesus and The Message.
Maybe I’m being too raw about what life in the “ministry trenches” looks like but I know that much of the time, there isn’t time for a review process to build upon what you’ve been doing to make your community’s experience better.
Do you have those moments set aside in your day, week and year to review what you have built? Is the carpet falling apart down the center aisle in the sanctuary? Is the kitchen in need of updating? Do we have the coffee inventory we need to thrive? I mean, we are Lutherans here!
We need to find a balance between tradition and “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
The point is, you should also take the time to review your communication materials with fresh (read: outsider) eyes. Is your website content up-to-date? Does it reflect your church experience? Is it time to refresh the bulletin template to something less dated? Is it time to replace that fake ficus in the corner of the narthex with some member-created art? Or even some real nature? Maybe we should -just to see it from a new perspective- move that stack of Bibles to another shelf.
Newcomers will experience a disconnect if they sense one thing online, and then arrive to find a very different feel in person. The goal is that these two experiences match.
Here is a small checklist of materials to review:
- Logo – Does your logo reflect your ministry?
- Bulletin – Does your bulletin look like it’s from this decade?
- Powerpoint – Could your template use a refresh? Same old background? Same old graphics?
- Website – Are there images on the front page that are welcoming? Smiling faces? Photo of the exterior of your building? Photo of your sanctuary? And a map to get to your location?
- Printed Newsletter – Is your printed newsletter use dated clip art? Does your template need to be reformatted to a simpler design? Can you streamline the look rather than use different fonts and colors for each section? Can we have categories and better headings like sections of a newspaper?
- Email Newsletter – Does your email newsletter look and feel like your website?
- These days in the software / app development world there is a lot of industry talk about “UX design” which stands for User Experience, which is the way the user experiences or flows through software. Is it intuitive to use? Does it feel aesthetically pleasing? Where do users get hung up, confused or subconsciously frustrated?
Today, we aren’t just competing online with the other churches in our neighborhood, and hoping we have the best sign out front. We are competing for attention with all the other things that our members, staff, volunteers, students and campers are into. Our goal needs to be streamlining not just how we do our work, but how our work impacts our viewers. Take the time to schedule reviews in your day, week, month and year to evaluate what you have been building and see if there is a better way to get that same point across with more impact and less work.