Building a Culture of Failure

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Peter Drucker You’ve probably heard this many times before. It’s the idea that strategy, while a necessary part of business, just doesn’t correlate with success the way culture does. If you want your organization to make progress – actual, sustained progress – you’ve got to have a strong culture. There’s… Read more »

The Three-Team Model for Church Growth

How many meetings do you go to in a week? My guess: too many. If meetings have overtaken your calendar, it’s probably because you’re a part of a bunch of teams.  Organizations have jumped on the team approach and away from the “department” approach; they form teams of staff from different departments to address unique… Read more »

How to Be Productive When You’re Distracted

We all have days when we struggle to find focus. We have all the best intentions of getting things done, but we just can’t seem to get into a groove. We’re tired, under the weather, or distracted by some external or internal situation, and we find ourselves… drifting. Ever find yourself just staring at the… Read more »

A Leader’s Most Valuable Asset

What’s a leader’s most valuable asset?  Some say it’s vision. Effective leaders define a better future, and inspire the team to work together to create it. Without vision, there’s no unity, no common direction. What about expertise? A leading expert can be an effective guide, applying their deep knowledge to define strategy and guide the… Read more »

The Church Growth Formula

How do churches grow? My last post looked at three key components of church growth: creating share-worthy experiences, fostering authentic community, and providing clear next steps for new people. And all of those are essential! Any church that isn’t offering those three things is in an uphill battle for growth. But organizations are more than… Read more »

The Obvious Reasons Your Church Isn’t Growing – and What to Do About It

Why do some churches grow, and others don’t? How can it be that a really good church – one that offers great preaching, musically excellent worship, and fantastic kids’ programs – just kind of hovers around the same attendance each week, and isn’t seeing new people come through the door? Straight from the desk of… Read more »

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

The 5 Components of a Successful Brand

Admit it: you love branding. I have yet to meet a passionate, engaged-with-their-job marketing or communications person who isn’t All About The Brand. I am, too! I’ve designed logos, helped a few organizations create new brands for themselves, and worked with and for organizations as they figure out what to do to improve the brand… Read more »

Simplifying Your Model

The multisite church movement has been around for some time now. Along the way to adding more sites, many churches have realized something: adding sites doesn’t necessarily mean growth. New locations are being added, but overall attendance and engagement isn’t increasing – at least anywhere near to what was hoped for. Churches in this situation… Read more »

  • Practical stuff, Strategy

    Listen to the Data!

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    Every church comms person hears feedback. Whether it’s from our coworkers or other leaders at church, from volunteers, or from people in the congregation, we hear feedback on our work: “our new website looks terrific.” “I love the graphic for our new children’s event!” Or even, “our new logo is amazing.” It’s the reason we… Read more »

  • Organizational Leadership

    Before You Do Anything Else, It’s Time For a Gut Check

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    Growing your organization requires a lot of things: solid strategy, strong leadership, compelling content, planning and organization, and some technical know-how. Putting those together in the most effective way possible is essential to taking on the task of growing your church. But every once in a while, you need to step back for a gut… Read more »

  • Practical stuff, Strategy

    The Measurement Mindset

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    “If it’s not worth measuring, it’s not worth doing.” That’s an old saying in the marketplace, and it’s especially applicable to the discipline of church communications. The measurement mindset might as well be in your job description. It’s that important. It’s not uncommon to get resistance among church staff to this idea. How do you… Read more »

  • Best Practices, Practical stuff

    What a Bunch of Teenage Activists Can Teach Every Communications Professional

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    Responsiveness, clarity, and discipline matter as much as creativity. Vanity Fair just published a behind-the-scenes look at the teenagers behind the #NeverAgain movement. Described as a “meme factory,” this group of students are all survivors of the Parkland, FL school shooting in February 2018. Their goals are threefold: a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity… Read more »

  • Practical stuff

    On Copywriting

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    “This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music…. Read more »

  • Practical stuff, Strategy

    When Not to be Creative

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    Creativity is highly valued in today’s church world. Churches put countless hours into crafting creative elements in their worship services, making promo videos or graphics for a teaching series, even a Christmas video. And this is a good thing! It’s not easy to stand out in today’s crowded infoscape. In the 1970’s, the average person… Read more »

  • Practical stuff

    The Creative Brief, Part Two: a Simple Template

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    [This is the second post I’ve written on the creative brief; to read the first, click here.] A good creative brief is a simple framework for making decisions on everything creative: key words/phrases, promo copy, visual designs, drama or video storylines… it’s your project guide, helping your team stay on course as you create and… Read more »

  • Practical stuff

    “If it’s not on the website, it doesn’t exist.”

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    Let’s suppose you heard about an event or activity that kind of piqued your interest. Maybe you saw something on Facebook about it, or you heard someone mention it in a conversation, or you’d seen it advertised somewhere. It sounded relevant to you or someone you know, but at the time, you didn’t take action… Read more »

  • Best Practices, For Churches, Practical stuff

    Teaching Series Graphics Aren’t Ads, They’re Book Covers

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    One of my favorite TED talks is by acclaimed graphic designer Chip Kidd. He’s a designer who’s worked for NYC book publishers for almost his entire career, designing book covers. Just book covers. The thing I appreciate most about Kidd isn’t his talent (which is significant) or his presentation style (which is flamboyant), but his… Read more »

  • Practical stuff

    The Creative Brief, Part One

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    Every project worth your time starts with a plan: the definition of the need, the desired outcome, and the measure of success. When it comes to creative projects, the plan also includes a critical piece of communication called the creative brief. The creative brief can be a cumbersome document if done incorrectly. If done well,… Read more »