The advice above to "put the long-term ahead of another quick fix" comes from an editorial in USA Today and, as you might assume, applied to the U.S. economy.
While the merits of that advice, or any other, when it comes to economic policy in any country, can be endlessly debated, the wisdom of that statement when it comes to creating effective church communications is beyond doubt. Following are three reasons why we should consider the long-term effects over quick fixes:
Reason #1: Our church communications have eternal consequences
It is so easy to forget this when we focus on just getting this or that piece DONE.
Take a deep breath. Exhale slowly. Remind yourself that based on what you create in the church office, heaven will be different. Remind yourself that hungry children will be fed, hurting hearts will be healed, lonely people will find friends and meet Jesus, the friend who will never leave.
Effective church communications have eternal consequences because they fully fulfill the Great Commission. This means that your communications, if done prayerfully and well, will help people come to know Jesus as Savior and grow to mature discipleship. What an extraordinary calling that is! Your work is accomplishing the last command of the Lord Jesus to His people.
It is easy to forget what that means, but someday, when you meet Him face-to-face, you will be so glad you remembered what your work is really about and though it appeared you were simply grinding out the church bulletin one more time (with people turning content in late and asking for "one more little change"), you were smiling because you were working with eternity in mind.
Reason #2: Our view may be heavenly, but our earthly time is limited
Because our time is limited, we want to create communications, wherein each piece will do as much as possible. No piece you create in the church is a thoughtless throw away.
You need to do everything you do to make your work as efficient as possible. If we have guidelines in place, if our goals are clear, if we take time to evaluate the results and modify the next time for greater success, we will make the most of our time.
We also make the most of our time when our skills are sharp. If you have to stop and learn how to create an invitation card or website, if you have no idea what typeface to choose, or how to modify an image, you won't accomplish as much in your day as you could.
Training in church communication skills is never wasted time, it is an investment in sharpening your skills to make every minute creating church communications the most productive it can be.
Reasons #3: To have eternal impact, our communications need to be created with Biblical values as our North Star
A faulty compass won't get you to your desired destination.
The direction of your church communications in every area from how you create them, how you interact with the people in your church, how you write, how you produce video and audio pieces, your content and illustrations will depend on what you use as your compass, your North Star.
If your reference point is snarky, cynical, secular advertising and attitudes, if you think that for something to have impact it has to be created in cutting-edge color and motion, no matter what the cost, if you think you need to bribe people with feel-good activities and promises of "fun" for them to attend church events, you probably won't end up with many genuine conversions or build many disciples who are willing to die to self and serve.
This isn't to say that effective church communications shouldn't be attractive and appealing, but most of all we need to make sure all our communications follow Biblical values and that they are:
- True, no misleading, exaggerated statements
- Kind, no making fun of people or issues or opinions
- Christ-honoring, no barely off-color images or topics, no matter what the reason
C.S. Lewis' advice in Christian Reflections is worth considering here:
If I have read the New Testament aright, it leaves no room for 'creativeness' even in a modified or metaphorical sense. Our whole destiny seems to lie in the opposite direction, in being as little as possible ourselves, in acquiring a fragrance that is not our own, but borrowed, in becoming clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours. . . .An author should never conceive of himself as bringing into existence beauty or wisdom which did not exist before, but simply and solely as trying to embody in terms of his own art some reflection of eternal Beauty and Wisdom. . . . And always, of every idea and of every method the Christian will ask not, 'Is it mine?' but 'Is it good?'
For our communications to follow that advice and to be true, kind, Christ-honoring, and good, for them to reflect Biblical values, means church communicators must know what the Bible says. The quality of your personal walk with the Lord will be reflected in your communications. Be sure to spend time each day reading the Bible and talking to Him in prayer, if you want your communications to be aligned in the right direction.
How Effective Church Communications can help
I came across the headline that inspired this post in the process of literally agonizing over what to share with church communicators as I put together some of the material for this site. It is always tempting to see what some of the latest communication design trending topics are on the web, revise them a bit and serve them as if new--but I can't do that.
I do pray, agonize, and constantly ask the Lord, what should I share and teach that will best equip you to do much more than produce communications. To have an eternal impact, I work to include training that not only has the skills that are important, but interspersed with them, appropriate Biblical advice and encouragement.
In all our church communications work we must remember that we "wrestle not against flesh and blood." There is genuine spiritual warfare involved wherein the enemy of our souls does not want us to effectively communicate our church messages. At the same time, "greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world!" If we walk worthy and seek to honor our Lord in all we do, he will enable us to create materials that will have an eternal impact on the people we are called to serve.