In the church we are pretty good at one thing: continuing to do what we've always done without asking ourselves "why?" Now, I'll give you one thing: we do often ask, "how do I do this better?" But we're often operating under the delusion that the newsletter or mailing formula we've used is the only way to do it. Usually we are looking at a newsletter or bulletin or congregational letter and we are saying, "This is okay but I want it to look better or be more effective."
That is simply the wrong approach.
Lately, I've been looking at church newsletters and bulletins (not just the ones from my churches) and I've asked myself that first question a lot over the past few months. I've considered some re-designs. I've thought about whitespace, flow, and consistency. I've looked at these documents from every perspective of design and communication that I can think of...
...but I had failed to ask the really pertinent questions. I had failed to think fully outside of the box.
This week I took some time to contemplate questions like, "What are we trying to accomplish," and "what media (and format) would work best to do that?"
I made several realizations that I hope to share with you in the near future, once I put them into practice.
In the meantime, I beg all pastors and church leaders interested in effective communications in their church to do as I've done this week: set aside your current publications and think bigger:
- What are you trying to accomplish with your church?
- What audiences do you need to communicate with?
(worshipers, inactive members, active leaders, outsiders)
- What do you want to communicate to each of these audiences?
- What is the most effective means to use?