To our dear church communicators,
We love working with you. You all are some of the kindest, most dedicated, sharpest tacks in the church leadership box. You promote the purpose of the church daily in your work. You feel the pulse of the church at all times, and you’re always willing to go the extra mile.
But you seem a little stressed!
All of those event promotions, social media posts, and “extra mile” tasks can wait for just a few minutes––because we need to talk. It’s time to grab a Diet Coke or start a new pot of coffee. We need to release a little tension. Let’s sit down and tell some stories of our people. You know what I’m talking about, all those things we communicators stress about. All. Day. Long.
There’s really no better way to start the day than with a laugh. We wrote this open letter to church communicators about recognizing (and chuckling at) the speed bumps in your day:
1. You noticed a typo or misspelling in a message you wrote:
Those little mistakes might make you relate to the littlest Huxtable, but you can’t let them get you down. To err is human, but focus on the 99.9% of it that worked. To help prevent future misspellings, jot down the tricky word on a notepad on your desk––and have it at-the-ready whenever you’re proofreading a message. It’s a spelling safety net! Or try reading sentences backwards. You’ll notice everything!
2. You got last-minute edits or requests past deadlines:
This may be one of the most frustrating problems with having your hands in many pots of the church. Of course we understand about emergencies, and we both know you’re dedicated to the church and will do what needs to be done––last-minute or not––but consider an alternative: Every project you touch should have deadlines. Deny a small request that came in after the deadline just once. This might be all you need to show your time is serious, valuable, and must be respected by all members of the church. They’ll learn the lesson, and make the deadline next time!
3. You mastered a new Photoshop tool without a tutorial:
That sweet, sweet feeling of success! Life is a constant journey of learning, and you’re never too “experienced” to run out of new things to learn. Especially in church communications, you need to be like a chameleon to adapting to software updates and new features. Every time you nail a new skill, your church grows another branch.
4. You had to cover a no-show volunteer’s shift after a long day:
Friday night bulletin-folding? No problem. Recruit the kids! While it’s not fun being hung out to dry, you simply can’t jump to conclusions as to why a volunteer missed their shift. That’s a slippery slope, and you’re better off being a good sport about it. If this really becomes a recurring problem with specific volunteers, hold a conversation with them about preventing future missed shifts. Do you need to set up better communications? Is there a way to set up an emergency volunteer list so that you’re not always the one filling in? Keep it rational, supportive, and honest.
5. Someone asked you to produce a communication from a meeting you weren’t invited to:
One of our team members, AJ, had years of experience working in church communications before joining Ekklesia 360––and this was his biggest pet peeve. Writers, designers, and PR managers know just how hard it can be to create content without context. It’s like working backward to build a car from spare parts. The best way to express your frustration is to tell the requesting team member just that. Say you need context, and ask them to repeat the relevant information from the meeting with you before you can start. This, combined with asking for future invitations to all pertinent meetings, should push them to make sure you’re in the loop right away next time.
6. You got through a Sunday service without a hiccup:
Let’s stop and celebrate this awesome moment! It’s not often that a weekend goes smoothly, but when it does––man, isn’t that the best feeling in the world? This is a tribute to your dedication. I know you work hard, and it totally paid off.
7. You got your inbox down to 0 (even if just for a moment):
Have you actually ever done this? Oh my, please share your life-saving secrets! Nothing feels better than a blissfully empty inbox. While it’s a rare thing to happen when you work in busy church communications, it can happen when you’re on a roll. You just have to believe (and find a little spare time).
8. You had time to celebrate a Sunday service with the whole church, simply as a member:
This calls for “the Carlton.” Ultimately, you work for the church because you love it. You love the sense of community around it, and you’ll do whatever it takes to help it grow and become closer to Jesus. But sometimes, that means you don’t get to participate like a “normal” member. You need to make time for your personal worship, and that includes being included in as many services and events as possible, just like everyone else in the church. It’ll sure make you do a happy dance!