Guiding principles and values for church communicators and marketers.

Over the years as I’ve worked in communications roles at churches, and as I’ve led That Church Conference, I’ve experienced some trends and have developed some principles that I think may be helpful for all church communicators.

These are things that I hope you can take to heart and live by. Pin them up in your office or cubicle. Apply these to every communication you put out, every project you work on. If every church communicator lived by these beliefs, I believe we could make an incredible impact on the thousands and thousands of lives that we reach each week.

1. It’s all about Jesus. 

  • Colossians 3:23-24 says: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
  • Jesus is the hero of every story, not your church. Not me, not you. Since we don’t do anything to merit our salvation, we can’t be the authors of our story. 
  • Whenever you can, cite scripture—share Jesus’ story—regularly.
  • Instead of “Come see what we’re doing and what we have,” let’s say “Come be a part of what Jesus is doing.”
  • When we share blog posts, or videos and stories, we need to stop saying “this-is-what- God-is-teaching-me lately,” as in this is my story in which God played a part. Instead we should tell about God’s story, in which we get the blessing to have a part.
  • It’s also important that we don’t just do the work of Jesus… but we strive to be like Jesus. Just because you work for a church doesn’t mean you don’t need to continue to draw close to Jesus. 

2. We are culture shapers.

  • Never adapt to the culture—lead the culture. Communicate ideas that people will adopt as their own. 
  • We do not make the Gospel relevant, it is more relevant than we know what to do with. 
  • We labor by grace alone so that we can share the good news of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. The light we shine is on his works, not our own.
  • How does this play out? It means thinking about the example we set, and questioning the reason behind everything we do.
  • Is your youth group promoting Snapchat because it’s cool and all the kids are using it, or because you actually think it’s a useful and appropriate tool to promote to teenagers? The real culture shapers are the ones bold enough to say, “No! This is trash, and we aren’t going to promote it.”

3. We strive for excellence.

  • Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 
  • When something is designed or communicated poorly, we are saying the message that goes with it is equally not as important. When your message is the gospel, then you’re talking life or death. 
  • The church needs to be seen as strong and stable. We need to lead the way, because we have the most important message in the world. 
  • Stop leaving that message in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. 
  • Pastors—put as much energy and resources behind spreading the message and equipping your communicators and marketers as you do putting the message together in the first place. 
  • It’s not just about putting out good designs either. Don’t conform to the world and copy what they do. Don’t duplicate what the popular churches do. Excellence mean building your own unique brand. Finding your voice, your meaning, your reason for being. Reflect your brand, reflect the message of the Bible, not the world. 

4. We are better together.

  • We live and work in community, because community drives creativity. And creativity drives learning. 
  • We are designed to work together. Most of us are a little introverted. We like to be behind the scenes. 
  • But we are better together. 
  • Collaboration is encouraged and desired, and it’s why conferences like That Church Conference are important. It’s why small groups are important. Why Facebook groups are important.
  • Don’t work in insolation. Share your resources, collaborate and build relationships.

5. Our Mission is Sunday to Sunday.

  • Church isn’t just about Sunday mornings. We’re called the preach the word AND make disciples. 
  • Disciple making happens Sunday to Sunday in small groups, on social media, at events, through our ministries, and most importantly out in our community. 
  • Context matters. Proximity matters. Our message is more powerful when it connects with people in a meaningful way, where they are. So get outside. The best opportunities are outside of the church.
  • Social media provides an amazing opportunity to connect with people and reach the nations. It’s bigger and more effective than any pulpit. 
  • Thriving churches don’t just have excellent worship experiences, they engage with their community every day, where they are, from Sunday to Sunday. 

These are the principles I’ve learned over the years, and it’s what we’re all about here at SundayU.

I’m sure there’s more we can add to this. In fact I’d love for you to add to this… comment below with your ideas.

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  1. This was a great summary of what we’re called to do and who we are called to be. I shared it with my entire Communications team. It was affirmation that we’re “on track” in most ways, and a great encouragement to remain focused and avoid distractions that could cause us to drift from the role we play at our church and in God’s Kingdom.

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