Just recently I have taken the opportunity to tackle a big project at my church: to plan our communications systems in such a way that fosters growth in numbers, relationships, and spiritual health. Easy, I thought. I’ll just make sure we have social media avenues in place, and a system that empowers people to do it. Then I really looked at the scope of what this project would really take.
First of all, a church is very unlike the small businesses I am used to working with. There is generally not “one guy” who can make all the decisions. There are boards and committees and groups that you have to get on board with your ideas. So, there is a certain amount of politics you have to play in order to get things done. Especially if your ideas are contrary to “the way we’ve always done things.”
Secondly, you have to be honest with everyone about where you are currently and where you want to be. You can’t be afraid to call a spade a spade but you have to do it with class and respect. You have to understand that you are going to be stomping on some sacred cows here. You will be flying in the face of the way people have been doing things, in this case for the church’s 180+ year history.
Next, you have to know that you can not do it alone. One of my focus’ in this project is to only work on the method of communicating the messages…not the message itself. You have to build a team, even if its only one other person, and they have to hold you accountable to not overstep the scope of your job.
So let me tell you a little bit about where we are right now. This is the beginning of the project. My church is a small church. Less than 100 members in a small town in Western New York. The demographic of the town itself is older. This is reflected in our membership. The communication systems in the church are very announcement and bulletin driven. We have a brochure style website built on Drupal. We have a Facebook page with about 120 followers and a very neglected twitter account.
So that’s the set up. Check back here and I’ll post things, successes and failures, as we go along the way.