The 6 People You Need On Your Church Communications Team
We receive and process information in many different ways, so makes sense that when we communicate, we need to find different ways of doing it.
We need to do so with pictures, graphics, photography, video, and of course, the written & spoken word. So accordingly, you need lots of creative people to pull off great communications.
But you don’t just need creative people, you also need organized people, strategic people. systems people, people with every gift and strength working together to take a message and communicate it to the masses.
So for your church’s communications, you certainly need a communications director, but just as importantly, you need a gifted communications team.
So I wanted to write a post with the 6 people you NEED on your communications team.
One quick disclaimer:
This minimal team I describe here is not the goal, it’s the starting point. Ideally, each of these people will begin to train and empower more people to create photography teams, writing teams, and graphic design teams. So think of this as a place to start but don’t let your team end here.
1. Project Manager
I don’t know a single creative communications agency or team that can function without a project manager. Project managers can be creatively inclined, but they don’t have to be. What’s important is that your project manager is organized and well versed in the technical aspects of what the creative types do.
For example, a project manager doesn’t need to know how to create a vector image, but she does need to know the difference between file types so each person or team using the file has what they need.
Your project manager needs to be able to keep multiple projects, tasks, and due dates happening at the same time. Since they have to keep the entire team on task, they need to be good at managing people, not just projects.
2. Graphic Designer
Graphic design is one of those fields that with the right tools, a little training and practice, and a natural creative gift, you will be a very valuable team member. Graphic designers are the key creative agent for things like sermon graphics, bulletins, email campaigns, websites, and much more.
These days, there are many short cuts to creating graphics (Canva, Church Pro Tools, Stock Images) but I still recommend your graphic designer being well versed in adobe software (photograph, illustrator). The short cuts are great, but don’t give you much versatility.
Having a great photographer can be a huge asset to the communications team, both for more permanent platforms (websites, brochures, leadership photos) and for social media, where the photographer can capture what happening at the church right now. If there’s any communications position you want to expand (and I mean now), it photography.
Last year, Facebook rewarded video (gave video posts higher ranking/priority) and so people started doing more video than photography. This year, it shifted back. Photography is timeless and I don’t think it’s ever going away.
Like photography, there are so many things we use video for these days. Video can be incredibly effective in giving your website visitors a quick taste of your church, help people tell their stories on social media, and to produce creative and effective announcements.
Often you can find a photographer who does videography, or a videographer who does photography. In my experience, they are usually good at one, but not usually both. So it’s best to find separate people for these positions. Because even if you do find someone who does both well, it’s probably going to be too much work to handle both at the same time.
The first four people I mentioned are fairly obvious, the next two are often neglected and to the church’s detriment.
Copy writing is the art of crafting a message with words. It takes pastors years to hone the art of the spoken word, but few people focus on becoming a great writer for the sake of communications. Most church copy is long, wordy, and filled with either cliche or insider language that does not accomplish the goal the writer is trying to achieve.
Find someone who knows how to write. Then, help them learn and embody your church’s vision and culture. Finally, empower them to communicate it with as few strategic words as possible.
6. System Manager
So let’s say you have a project manger who is leading her team well. The photography is done, the designs are complete, the writing has been edited and applied, now what?
Communication relies upon systems and platforms to deliver the work. Without them, it’s all kind of worthless. It’s like if a rock band were to write songs, learn them, practice to perfection, and then never play for an audience.
For communications to work, you need to apply the use of email campaigns, church management systems, know how to send designs to be professionally printed, post on social media, etc. And you have to do all of this strategically. You systems manager is the one who makes all this happen.
The main point?
You need all sorts of gifts represented on your communications team. Once you have them, the sky’s the limit.
Founder and Lead Catalyst for Clearpath.Church. Josh is ordained in the Reformed Church in America and is passionate about helping small churches find their voice. Josh lives with his family in San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast of California.