During this season, the ability to communicate with your church is vital. Communication brings connection, and we know that now more than ever before, people are desperate to stay connected.
Whether you had a communication strategy in place or not before COVID-19, chances are, you now have to figure out a new way to communicate with your people. While we may not be experts at communicating in times like these, the Highlands team has found that the below tips help in communicating with their congregation:
1. Communicate to Everyone
Be sure to keep everyone up-to-date. However, keep in mind that different groups of people will receive different information. Here are three groups you may want to consider communicating to:
Key leaders: Be sure to stay connected with your key leaders and staff personnel. Give them as much information as possible. Keep in mind that this group will more than likely help field the questions that come from the other groups, so they will need to know updates before the other groups receive communication. Key leaders can be communicated with in a number of ways, from emails and phone calls to virtual meetings on Skype and Zoom.
Volunteers: Volunteers play a crucial role in the health and growth of the church, so as church leaders, we must make sure we are connecting with them and giving them updates as well. Give them important updates as well as opportunities for them to serve and lead during this time. For examples of what volunteer communication can look like, check out the Communication with Volunteers resource.
Church members: This is the most public form of communication with your congregation. At this stage, you may even expand your communication to those outside of your congregation as well by giving updates through social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. When communicating with your congregation, don’t feel pressured to provide them with a long-term plan; update them on church life, give them the current plan for the weekend, and reassure them that everything is going to be okay. Here’s an example of Pastor Chris’s address to Church of the Highlands on March 25, 2020:
2. Have a Clear Communication Platform
Whether it’s through emails, social media, or your church’s website, make sure that you pick a primary communication platform. It’s smart to use multiple platforms to get your message out there, but it’s easy for people to stay connected when they know exactly where to go to get information.
For example, as you saw above, the Highlands team has been posting videos of Pastor Chris addressing the congregation every week. While these videos can be accessed in several ways (Instagram, Facebook, the website, etc.), the main platform for communication is Instagram. Therefore, if someone needs to know the most recent update, they can check Instagram and know that they are always receiving the most current information.
3. Be Consistent with Communication
Make a communication plan and stick with it. Right now, the Highlands team is connecting with each of the three groups above weekly, and each group knows when to expect the most up-to-date information from the leadership team.
By being consistent, you are creating comfortability for your key leaders, volunteers, and congregation, and that is extremely valuable during this time.
These are just a few tips that the team at Highlands has found useful as they develop their communication plan for their congregation during COVID-19. We encourage you to consider these steps, but we also encourage you to find ways to communicate that work well for you and your community.
In the end, what matters most is that your church is staying connected and thriving. Through healthy, clear, and consistent communication, your congregation will feel empowered and at-ease during this time.