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Effective Church Communication
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By Jon Cicle

As a pastor, “good” communication seems to be an almost constant struggle. I have heard questions on Sabbath such as “Is it potluck today? I had no idea! Why don’t we announce these things?” Comments like these are discouraging because extra effort was put forth to ensure that the secretary had listed the potluck announcement three consecutive weeks. A lot of work goes into planning special events and ministries. It’s a shame for that work to go to waste when the right people don’t know about the event or service we’re working toward. Systems are imperative if we’re going to communicate effectively. 

This scenario repeats itself too frequently. It may be potluck, a spring social, a school fundraiser, a church work bee or a quarterly communion. With all of these church events there are some assumptions: 1—Pastors want people to be informed and attend. 2—People are busy. 3—Posting an announcement in the bulletin and reading that announcement during the worship service are the ways to address the need for communication.

Pastors often feel like a broken record when communicating to the elders and church leaders about important announcements. With advance planning we might list an event in a monthly or quarterly newsletter. We might even post something on a church website. And still we have to drive congregants to those information outlets.

Many pastors will attest that bulletin announcements often go unread. Announcements from the front are either so short that they leave out pertinent info or so long that they become boring and tedious. Some churches feel a real tension about announcements in worship. Kind of like a necessary evil – announcements detract from the worship service but if we don’t mention upcoming events then no one shows up.

So I ask you, how effective is your church communication? Answering that question for my church, I would say that the typical methods are not as effective as I would like.

Let me tell you about a tool that has proven to be effective in my local congregation. To put it simply, HeroLoop is a very easy, inexpensive way to text individuals in your congregation with just one message inputted from whomever you may designate. If an individual does not receive text messages, there is also an option to email the message or send via a voicemail. It is easy to learn, quick to implement, and effective. A recent study conducted by mobilesquared[1] reported that there was a 90% open rate within 3 minutes of users receiving the SMS. It is impressive to consider that 90% of your congregation will potentially read your announcement/reminders via text message within 3 minutes of being sent. Another recent study from the New York Times[2] has noted trends of email open rate in decline. 

What are people saying about HeroLoop? One recent comment noted “So thankful for Heroloop on Sabbath when we needed to cancel the baptism on short notice due to weather. Quick. Easy. Done. Another comment spoken from an administrator that was designated to send messages “Woo hoo! Love that I can see who received messages and how they responded!”

Our own congregation is using HeroLoop to effectively communicate important information and upcoming events to our members. One impressive use was when we needed to have an emergency clean up session following a recent winter storm at our church and school. A record number of volunteers showed up, more than double the expected turnout. And the volunteers appreciated the info. Even elderly members who couldn’t physically help told me that they loved being informed regarding what was happening in the church and school family. 

Disclaimer: This has been such a useful tool for our congregation that I’ve become a consultant for HeroLoop.

From a pastor’s perspective, we must always remember that the two most important types of communication are between man and God and between human beings. We must constantly examine how we communicate with each other, with the goal of communicating about Jesus to a world that desperately needs to hear it (Matthew 28: 19-20). I challenge you today to set goals to find new ways to increase communication in your church. As it says in 1 Peter 3:15, as the church, the collected believers, we should put Christ first and be prepared to communicate our hope in Him. Effective communication with your congregation is the first step to becoming a “1 Peter 3:15” church.

If you are interested in learning more about HeroLoop and how it may help you in your ministry, you may sign-up at HeroLoop to receive more info. Feel free to contact me at jon.cicle@nccsda.com.

Jon Cicle is pastor of the Orangevale, CA Church
 
[1] mobilesquared.co.uk
[2] bits.blogs.nytimes.com