Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
“If I only had the time…” I’m convinced that every person over the age of 20 years old has said this at least once in their lives. If you’re slightly older than 20, maybe you say this once every day. If you’re in church communications, let’s be honest, this is likely your catch phrase! While we know that our seasons in life run on God’s time, He does want us to be productive and manage our time well.
Have you considered your church communications strategy and how to effectively save time overall with all the tasks and people involved? Well, we saved the time and did the research for you! Here’s 5 time-saving tips to consider that will improve not only your productively but your overall church communications strategy.
Tip 1: Plan ahead with “sprints.”
Planning ahead may sound like a no brainer but it’s funny how even year out projects can sneak up on you. You may have a year until the event is scheduled but the fact of the matter is that things will come up. Plus, prior to the release of details to your community, you’ll need many hours spent on writing marketing campaigns, securing the food or cooks, figuring out images, getting physical signs ordered, etc. You’ll need teams to get the word out next and sometimes simply making sure the staff is talking about the event can be a struggle. Organizing your to-dos in “Sprints” can be an easy way to communicate to everyone on your team what they need to do and when. We suggest organizing your strategy into “sprints” that include goals that should be reached 12-10 months out, 10-8 months out, 8-6 months out, 6-4 months out, 4-2 months out, 1 month out, 2 weeks out and 1 week out. These manageable chunks of goals show a clear linear relationship to the end goal: a successful event.
TIP 2: Set clear expectations.
If you don’t know what to do, how can you do it? The same is clear for everyone on your team! Empower your team through their individual tasks by setting the tone, remaining collaborative, and determining a deadline. When you set the tone, share with your team exactly how you would speak to or word a phrase. If something does not meet approval, take the time to show them what you meant in a friendly and relatable way. Keep encouraging them to meet the deadlines by asking them if they need help and being ready to assist or jump in to lend a helping hand. The bonus is, the clearer you can be upfront, the less you’ll need to jump in and the more time you’ll have for your own tasks.
Tip 3: Put your holidays and community events on your calendar first.
The first thing you should input at the start of your master calendar each year is all major holidays and known community and church events and then use this calendar as you search out events you wish to have in your church. As you learn of new community events like parades, potlucks, concerts, festivals, carnivals, write them down and be wise about your intended event audience. For example: if your team wants to plan a Youth event and you find out the County Fair is having their Family and Teen Night that same day a week in advance, you may lose out on some interest. Avoid this by keeping up with what’s going on in your community and getting those dates on your master calendar!
Tip 4: Make sure everyone is on board and knows the plan.
We love the quote “It only takes one person to make a difference…” For most people, this is an inspirational quote and it’s a great one! But, sometimes, “a difference” doesn’t mesh with your plan. Was it Samantha’s job to put out the signage? Jake thought he was being helpful but forgot to tell Samantha and while she ran around looking for the “lost” signage, her other task of showing the greeters where to stand wasn’t completed. With no one to greet the new-comer Teresa as she walked through the door, she felt uncomfortable and left. Jake was trying to be helpful but in not communicating, the most basic of the plan crumbled. Use this time-saving tip to make everyone know their job and be able to communicate their job and you could ultimately save your event!
Tip 5: It’s okay when things don’t go according to plan. Pivot as necessary.
Flexibility is key and in order to have the most time-saving plan in place, you have to be ready with your ‘Pivot Plan!’ Cook get sick? Time to call Connie and ask her if she can pick something up and come on over. After all, she lives close to the store and can be here quicker than someone staffing the event running out. Oh no, the guest speaker has car trouble! Time to pull out the message from that Sunday it snowed or grab the tech guy and ask him how to patch your speaker in via Zoom or even pivot to your small group discussions and invite the attendees to mix it up with a fellowship night. What may feel like a chaotic mess will be much calmer when you have your Pivot Plan ready and remember your number one goal of any church event is to bring the message of Jesus to the room.
Do you have any time-saving tips that have served your team well in the past? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the Church Communications Facebook Group!