Have you ever had a conversation where you thought you were being totally clear? Only to realize later, that the person you were talking to understood the conversation differently.

You both were talking about the same thing, but what was communicated was very different.

Unfortunately, church communications can be this way too.

I’ve had pastors share things like…

 

“We spent a bunch of money trying {insert great idea} but it didn’t work.”

“I can tell you what doesn’t work, but I have no idea what does.”

We’ve got great ministry ideas, and we’re working hard to connect people, but something isn’t working. We assume the issue is the event  or a lack of interest by the congregation.

The interesting part is, the “great idea” is seldom the problem. Other churches are doing similar things and having good responses.

More often then not, the issue is actually a communication challenge. What we think we’re saying and what the listener is hearing are two different things.

Thankfully, there are simple fixes to these communication challenges.

Here are 3 Top Church Communication Mistakes and How to Fix Them:

 

1) We Say Too Much

Please understand me on this. I’m not talking about saying less about the gospel. I’m talking about the volume of information we throw at people each week.

Our congregation and guests have limited bandwidth. We spend all week thinking about our ministry plans, but they haven’t. When we throw everything at them at once nothing sticks. A typical listener can only take in so much information before they shut down and stop listening.

 

Solution: Be intentional about what we share.

Pick the top 3-4 things in the life of your church and share about them well. This is best done with a calendar so you aren’t caught off guard as events approach.

A good rule is… a ministry opportunity needs to relate to 50% of those in attendance for you to share about it. If it doesn’t, you should find ways to share with just the people who need to hear it.

 

Example: Women’s Retreat – relates to 50%+ of Sunday morning attenders = Share

Men’s Woodworking Class – doesn’t relate to 50%+ of Sunday morning attenders = Find other ways to share with interested people

 

2) We Only Talk to Insiders

I recently found a “secret menu” for In-N-Out Burger (a California based fast food chain).

The menus includes creative ways to take their basic ingredients (burger, fries and drinks) and switch them up.

I’ve been going to In-N-Out for 20+ years and had no idea these options existed. I can get grilled onions on my burger and my wife can have a Lemon-Up (combo lemonade and 7-Up).

Why didn’t we know?

Because they haven’t printed the information on the menu board. The menu is so simple, you have to know what to ask for or they will serve it like they always have.

Unfortunately, we treat our church guests much the same. Assuming they have context and understanding about our church that they don’t have.

We announce events in ways insiders understand but guests don’t…

Join us for Bible Study on Wednesday in the MPR.

Guests need to know more.

 

Solution: Answer the questions guests would be asking . . .

  • Who is this event for for?
  • What time is it occuring?
  • What is the full name of the location?
  • Where would I find this room on campus?
  • Can my kids come too?

Example: Life can be confusing! Join our adult Bible study as we talk through practical ways to gain wisdom and understanding. Wednesdays, 7 pm, Main Office Lobby. Child-care is available by reservation.

 

3) We Share Details With No Heart

The power of the Gospel is it’s ability to connect people to God. Broken people with real troubles, challenges, hopes and dreams. People who want something more from the life they are living and don’t want to waste time on trivial things.

Our guests come to church each week and we fill them in on all the “exciting ways to get involved.” But they don’t connect.

Why?

Because they approach every opportunity, subconsciously or not, with a mental question…

“What’s in it for me?”

They want to know what makes this opportunity something worth considering, and boring announcements with event details aren’t enough. Our guests are hungry for the solutions God offers. It’s our responsibility to show them.

Solution: Highlight the benefit of attending and participating.

Go beyond the details and present examples of life change in your ministry. Look at: previous attenders, congregation members, your community. Share the way God has used the ministry in the past and the difference it can make for those in similar situations.

If your church is struggling with these church communication mistakes don’t worry. There is hope.

You can reverse the trend by doing one thing…

Solution: Say Less + With Greater Clarity + In Ways That Connect With People
Do it consistently and you will see growth in your congregation.

Neglect it and you will struggle to connect and retain new people.