I spent most of my childhood in a small church, so I never heard of a “communications minister.” In fact, it wasn’t until I started working with churches that I started to see this role up close. I quickly grasped the vastness and difficulties of the job. Depending on the church, the communications minister can be in charge of public relations, audio/visuals, printing the bulletin, overseeing social media, and updating the website. It can be a big job.
Working with churches, I’ve noticed over time there are some characteristics that are universal amongst successful communications ministers. If a communication minister can master these characteristics, they will not only find that their communications ministry will flourish, but they’ll also have a better handle on the job itself.
1. They are Bought Into the Goals of the Church.
It’s easy for a communications minister to form their own unique goals for their church’s communications. The goal may be a simplistic messaging approach or one that wants content across as many channels as possible.
Either way, their goal for communications has to align with the church’s goals. For example, if your church’s goal is to have 10,000 people come to Christ this year, your communications goals have to align with that goal.
If a communications minister doesn’t know what the church’s goals are, they should sit down with their senior leadership and get a firm grasp of where leadership see things going and what they want the future to look like. This will not only help the communications minister align their work with the church, but also give them an idea of what the future of their job looks like.
2. They Have a Clear Idea of What the Church is Communicating as a Brand.
Most communications ministers can tell you what they’re communicating on a Sunday-to-Sunday basis. They may be promoting missions, small groups, etc. However, determining what they’re communicating as an overall brand is something entirely different.
In order to understand what the church is communicating a brand, the communications minister has to know the voice of the church. It’s the tone and the feel. Is the church an upbeat, celebratory church like Hillsong, or are they a more reflective church like The Village Church?
When the communications minister understands the brand of church, they’ll know what communications should look and feel like. They’ll have a keen sense of what social media posts feel like and when they’re “off-brand.”
3. They Have a Keen Sense of Disruptive Technologies.
In 2006, I used a Motorola Q as my daily phone and I felt like I had the future in my hand. I could email, text, and see my calendar all from a single device. Then one year later, the iPhone appeared and everything changed.
When most of us saw the iPhone, we saw a new cell phone with a lot of possibilities, but not all of us were thinking of how the iPhone would impact our church communications (e.g. responsive websites). I think now, we could all say that it’s had a huge impact on how we manage our church’s communications.
It’s not the communications minister’s job to be a futurist and predict what the next thing will be down the road. But, it is their job to be aware of what is developing that could disrupt the way their church communicates.
4. They Use the Phrase “I don’t know.”
If a communications minister wants to be comfortable with the future and their church’s communications, they need to be willing to say “I don’t know” a lot. The future will depend on them trying new communication channels (e.g. TikTok) with the idea that “they don’t know” what the immediate benefit will be.
By admitting that they don’t know, they’re identifying an area that they can research and grow in, which always leads to better outcomes.
5. They Understand Their Role as a Supporting Player.
For most communications ministers, the average church member will have no clue what work they’ve done. It’s not because church members don’t care about what a communications minister does, it’s the fact that communications is a support mechanism that helps ministry happen on a daily basis and not something that is front and center.
You often hear leadership experts tout the benefits of “servant leadership,” the idea that real leaders serve those around them. A communications minister’s job is servant leadership. It’s their job to serve ministries and the church as a whole.
Sometimes that means that communications ministers will never get credit for the work they do. Nor will people truly understand the difficulty of the job.
A church communications minister is very different from other ministerial positions, given how special the knowledge is that is required to do the job. However, it’s a growing field that is constantly changing with each piece of technology or social media startup. Either way it’s a blessing to serve and communicate for the church.