Do you post your dress-code for Sunday morning on the front door of your church?
But I bet your church does have a dress code that falls somewhere between “Sunday Best” and “Street Clothes”.
Did the leadership team sit down and work out the congregational dress code?
Maybe they did a weekend retreat and studied deeply in how people should dress when coming to church.
Then there was a congregational meeting. The vote was taken.
Ties for men and dresses below the knees for women.
The vote was skinny jeans and v-neck t-shirts for men and layered necklaces with long sweaters over tights for women. (I hope none of that actually happened at your church.)
My only point is that your church has a culture.
You either created the culture (which is hard) or you embrace your church’s culture (easier).
Please hear this though…if the culture needs to be changed, then it’s 100% worth the effort.
But if it doesn’t – then why put up the fight?
It’s the same with communication as it is with dress codes…
*Your congregation already has a culture of communication*.
As someone tasked with communicating to your congregation – your job is to either create a culture of communication (again, hard) or identify, and adopt your congregation’s existing modes and mediums of communication.
When you do this, your members will naturally be informed and connected which is vital to both our church’s health and our spiritual health.
Creating a culture of communication may take some time, but you’ve got this!
Let’s dive into the world of church apps, social media, email newsletters, QR codes, and SMS and find out which of them will (or won’t) work at your church.
I. Church Apps
Maybe you have a church app or have considered getting one. How well does it work to communicate?
If your app provider provides usage metrics (and if they don’t, you may want to ask them why they don’t…) – look at a couple of key numbers:
1) Total App Installs / Average Weekly Adult Attendance = What percentage of your congregation has the app installed.
2) Weekly Unique App Opens / Total App Installs = What percentage of your congregation opens the app weekly.
3) Push Notification Click Through Rate (CTR) = If you push a notification, what percentage of people read it.
If you have not *created* the culture of using a church app at your church, these numbers will probably be a disappointment. If you can create that culture (::pat on the back::) – a church app can be an awesome tool. But you must actively create the app-centric culture, you can just announce the app exists and expect people to use it.
II. Social Media
It’s a bit silly to say this…. but your congregation uses Facebook (and Instagram and TikTok and Twitter and YouTube ). Some of them probably even scroll their feeds during church. This is not a situation where you need to create a culture of communication via social media. We can debate whether social media is good or bad for society and if you are the type of church leader who falls on the “bad” side of the debate and want to create a culture around that in your church – do it. If not, your congregation is on social media – and you can reach them there.
Be a social media influencer for your church to your community. Create content. Spread awareness of your events and activities. Engage in conversations. Be authentic and kind.
If your church knows that your Facebook Page or Twitter Feed will have the information about services, events, programs, etc. They will come to it when they are scrolling their feeds.
Plus all of these conversations are happening in public, so you may start bringing people into the life of your church just by engaging in the open.
III. Email Newsletters
Email newsletters are a tried and true method for churches to communicate important updates. They are low cost and straightforward. For most working adults or college-students – email is a central pillar of their communication anyway. That’s an easy culture to embrace.
Do you struggle to get people to read your emails?
If you have a lot of working adults in your congregation – write them emails that they’ll want to read and they will. Pretty straight forward.
IV. QR Codes
This is a relatively new communication tool. At some point, a nerd was sitting around and decided that standing on a stage and saying “double u double u double u dot my life church dot com slash come dash to dash vbs dash twenty-twenty-three” was a bad idea. And, just like that, the QR code was born.
Churches can use QR codes to share digital resources, such as event registrations, online giving forms, and sermon notes. Create a QR culture by putting codes in your lobby, on your slides, in your pews… people will scan them out of curiosity if nothing else. Reward that curiosity and you’ll develop a culture of QR code scanning in your church.
V. SMS (Short Message Service)/ Text Messages
If I were to text you there are two possible futures for that text message:
Future #1 – You read the text and shoot back a reply immediately – maybe with a funny GIF.
Future #2 – You read the text and put your phone down then comes guilt as the text sits unanswered forever. If the guilt eats away enough for you to respond, you’ll apologize that it took so long.
In *both future*, you read the text message almost immediately. Engagement with text messages is INSANELY high. Communicate with your congregation via text if you can.
This is why bltn sends digital bulletins via text message. Our bulletin read rates are crazy high because they come via text message.
Text messages can also be a way to have a conversation with your members. This is a cultural question for you. If you set up a channel of text message conversations with your congregation- then you need to step up to the plate and have a good text message edict.
If you tell your congregation to text you and someone texts you late on Friday with a prayer request – you can’t leave them on read until Sunday morning when you get into the office.
The take-away from all of this is that you are going to have to work to create the communication culture that fits your vision or you are going to adapt your vision to fit the communication culture that your church family has already established for itself. If you are all in on your church app or your plastering QR codes everywhere – do it – buy into it. If you *cannot stop* the TikTok dances in the foyer – be the next swipe away in their app.
Creating culture is hard – sometimes it’s easier to buy some new skinny jeans and v-necks tees.