The Healthy Church Hub

Digital Communication is a crucial part of a church’s discipleship strategy. Through various communication tools, you can show up and communicate with your congregation, not just on Sundays but every day of the week. In this episode of Church Leadership Labs, Jonathan Deatherage, Senior Church Consultant, and previous Church Communications Director, shares insights and direction on leading and discipling your congregation strategically with digital communications.

Creating a Digital Communications Strategy in the Church

Strategy is a unique word to use in a church context, but it is essential. When you have a strategy, you can fully utilize your resources, effectively pursue your mission, and create a clear and concise plan to accomplish your objectives and goals. Here are five steps to creating a Digital Communications Strategy within your church.

  1. Define your audience. Figure out who you are trying to reach and understand their needs.
  2. Shift your perspective. Instead of asking, “What do you have to offer the world?” Ask yourself, “What does my audience need to hear?”
  3. Find out where your audience is. What platforms are they using online?
  4. Understand their felt needs and what they may be dealing with in life. What are the struggles, problems, and issues they have?
  5. Make decisions on what content you will use to reach them and how you will equip them with your digital content.

When we can better understand who we are trying to reach and where they are, we can plan how to reach them. This allows us to create a clear, proactive plan to connect with our audience.

Common Church Website Mistakes

Every church website is created with the hope that it will provide an excellent first impression for its visitors. Many visitors are coming to your website asking if they fit in, do they belong here, and whether this is the church they want to be a part of. While we hope every church website can answer those questions, we want to provide a few mistakes that are commonly seen across many church websites.

  • Navigation is unorganized and unclear. 
    • Make your top navigation clear. As people scroll your website, they will be curious to learn more about your church, where to park, and how to get involved.
  • The homepage features only photography of the church building.
    • Show the genuine life of your church – people! When you do this, you allow others the opportunity to “try on” your community as you tell the story of your church visually. By showing the people in your congregation being the church, others will be able to see how they can be a part too. 
  • Only staff members review the website.
    • Ask someone who has never viewed your website to review it and give feedback. This will help you gain a fresh perspective on what you can change on your website.

Maximizing Your Communications Channels

With the continued development of communications channels (email, apps, social media, website), it’s essential to understand that each tool communicates different information and serves a unique purpose.

There is a commitment level that you are asking your audience to make when you say, “Download this app.” For a website, there is less commitment. When you realize what each tool is being used for to disciple your congregation, you can use each more strategically and further develop your communication strategy.

Final Five:

Book: Building a StoryBrand By Donald Miller
Last Thing You Listened To: Shane and Shane, Ben Rector
Favorite Technology: Alexa
Quote/Advice: “Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings.” 
Dad Joke: “If you’ve seen one Santa, you’ve seen the mall.”
One Thing for Church Leaders: In the world of media communications, you get what you pay for. Free doesn’t always mean it’s better.