The 8 Axioms of Church Communication

These are 8 things that I say all the time around the office, so often that they’ve turned into axioms. At least for me.

#1: You said exactly what you wanted to say, but that doesn’t mean they heard exactly what you wanted them to hear.

Maybe you’re caught off guard when your beautifully crafted call to action doesn’t lead to, well… action. Or you’re surprised by some harsh comments on what you thought was a pretty solid social media post. Or that blog post doesn’t get shared.

This is why.

We all have filters that create bias in the way we interpret any message we see or hear. Just remember that bias doesn’t just affect what you hear or see; it also affects the things you say.

The things you say don’t sound exactly the same to anyone else as they do to you.

#2: If it’s not on the website, it doesn’t exist.

We live in an on-demand world. SEO matters. The one place people still seek the latest update is your website (that’s changing, but it’s still true). Your website is your growth engine and your cornerstone communication tool.

#3: A strategy always starts with who, and who can’t be everyone.

What makes a movement grow? Starting with your minimum viable audience. Learn about targeting audiences here.

#4: Your brand is the connector between your mission and your culture. The stronger the brand, the stronger the connection.

Investing in your brand pays dividends for a long, long time. Not just your logo, colors, and fonts. I’m talking about continuity between every touch point people experience, from the narrative of your social media to your building signage to the graphic on your volunteer’s t-shirt.

#5: There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute.

Learn to say no. If that’s too hard, start with “not yet.” No will come.

#6: Design matters. 

Notice I didn’t say “beautiful design matters.” While aesthetics are important, design is about more than making something look good. It’s a way of thinking that says every element of something people experience has a purpose.

Design isn’t just a value, it’s a tool. Pick it up and use it.

#7: Social media matters. 

Social media controls the narrative around your brand. The kind of church you are on social media is the kind of church you are, period.

#8: Simplicity matters. 

Simple messages are more easily understood, more memorable, and more repeatable.

Simple processes are more easily followed.

Simple steps are easier to take.

Complexity stifles engagement.

The Caution Tape Effect

You probably love your church lobby after Sunday services. It’s a beehive of activity – conversations and connections, sharing stories and burdens and prayers, new people being greeted, etc.

Now imagine if you took caution tape and blocked off your lobby, so that after church people could not engage with each other, but had to edit the building without talking to anyone.

This is what happens when your church doesn’t have a presence on social media. Just like your people wouldn’t feel as good about church if they couldn’t chat in the lobby on Sunday, there are people who feel less connected when you aren’t engaging them on social media during the week.