All church staff members have challenges that are part of their job, but there’s something about being a church communicator for large churches (1000+ attendants) that comes with its unique set of issues. Oftentimes more help, money, or time is needed. Church communicators are go-getters who strive to do the best work they can to help further the church mission.
The trouble is, they have to overcome a myriad of problems to get the job done. But being aware that problems even exist is a great first step.
Here are 6 complaints from large church communicators, and how to overcome them.
“I need more help!”
Whether your church has a small communications team of mostly volunteers, or several people who are actually on staff, you know that having communications support is vital to getting all of the work done. However, when one member of the team leaves, oftentimes the staff may not prioritize finding a replacement. Like, “oh, you'll be fine.” LOL we’re not fine.
Having enough time to do everything is one of the biggest challenges church communicators face. And when there are less people to help, that means church communicators must step up to the plate (a plate that's already pretty full) and somehow find the time to complete their projects. So please, please when a team member leaves, find your church communicator the help that they need and deserve.
After all, if superheroes need help every now and then, then surely your church communicator does, too.
"I need more money!"
It’s been 3 years, it’s time for a redesign. But your staff just thinks “we have a website, why can’t you just update it?” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and an update requires a budget.
Some people just don't understand the importance of a church website and how it helps to further the mission. And if they don't get this, they probably aren't going to get that when a church website becomes outdated, it's actually going to end up hurting the mission.
Or, maybe they won’t invest in tools that you KNOW will make your job easier and streamlined. You know, things like church management software and tools that help to automate your church communication. These, too, require a budget and an upfront investment that will help out in the long run.
Try taking some time to sit down with your supervisor or the executive staff, and explain to them in detail why you need additional funding, and how it will help your church over time. Maybe even show them examples of updated websites, or track your analytics and point out how outdated pages receive less traffic.
“So many last-minute requests."
Just because you have an internal request form in place doesn't mean your staff is going to use it. Maybe a staff member has worked at your church for over 20+ years, and they are resistent to change or using newer systems or tools aimed at streamlining process. Or maybe they aren't using the internal request form simply because they are not clear on how to use it.
At the next staff meeting, maybe ask people why they’re not using the request form so that these roadblocks can be overcome. You might also need to reiterate why last-minute requests make your job much more difficult.
On the other hand, in order for request forms to be effective, church communicators need to be firm and stick to the guidelines outlined in the form. This doen't mean not to show grace when needed, but if you aren't sticking to the deadlines and rules laid out in the request form, chances are your staff won't either.
“I’m always working.”
You get a tap on your shoulder in the middle of the Sunday sermon and someone needs you to help with the printer, but you're "technically" not working. Or, someone puts in a last-minute request, so now you're working nights and weekends, too. What do you have to do to NOT be working?
Chances are, a lot of your staff probably feels this way. In fact, many church communicators work so much that they actually have to schedule their free time, and then force themselves to take it. Part of the problem is that other staff members underestimate how long it actually takes for certain tasks to get completed.
While church communicators seem like they can work around the clock and be okay with it, they actually do need to look after themselves and even get some sleep, once in a while anyway. Spend some time explaining to your staff how long projects will take, and don't be afraid to say "no", or "I'd be happy to get to this tomorrow." By setting boundaries, you'll help create a better work /life balance for you and the rest of your staff.
“People aren't following the brand guidelines!”
You changed your logo 4 years ago, but people are still using the old one, or using old colors, fonts etc. Staff members may not realize that everything a church communicator does is under the umbrella of the church's brand. When it comes to church branding, you are the brand champion, but it would be super helpful if everyone could follow the brand guidelines.
Try to ensure that everyone has access to up-to-date information and are using the same tools, like the visual communications style guide.
“My volunteers aren't taking their job seriously.”
While volunteers are, in fact, volunteers, they are still integral in accomplishing the work, and you depend on them to get everything done in time. If you want effective volunteers, you may need to take matters into your own hands, first. While it might take some time in the beginning, it's important to have an army of qualified volunteers. Here are some ways to make this happen:
- Train a core group of volunteers and then they in turn can teach even more volunteers.
- Empower them to do the work and help them realize they really do play a key role in furthering the church mission.
- Make leaders out of your volunteers--this way you won't feel like you have to micro manage them.
If all else fails, tell them “teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.” Or better yet, have them read Ephesians 4:16 and contemplate its meaning.