A great reminder from Frank Chiapperino's excellent blog:
Kem Meyer is on a whirlwind, one day, blog tour today answering tons of questions about communications in the church. For the full list of locations click here. So without further delay, here was my question for the oh so wise guru of communication:
Our church seems motivated most to attend events and activities when things are announced from the platform. When there’s no major push from the pulpit, using other forms of communication, how does one get the congregation excited and eager to participate in other things that are happening in the church?
Here is Kem’s Answer:
If people are responsive only to the events and activities announced from the platform it’s typically because it’s too hard to find out about the other events and opportunities that aren’t announced from the platform. Normal people always take the path of least resistance and if they have to work too hard to find something, they’ll just take what’s on top (like the platform announcements). The problem with the platform announcements being the only place to find out about individual growth and serving opportunities is that it limits church growth and community impact. My guess is that you “get this” and it’s why you asked this question in the first place. You’re a smart man, Frank. Smart man. [That's right, Kem thinks I'm a smart man! :)]
Here are a few tips to help raise awareness and energy for the things happening all around the life of the church without being solely dependent on the platform announcement.
Use the platform to reinforce and promote core values and macro steps from the platform, not individual events or teams. Practically, it might look like this:
Announced from the platform...
Join a Group
Read your Bible
Not announced from the platform....
Community scrapbooking event
Then, reinforce everywhere (from the platform, the bulletin, pre-service slides, etc.) the one place to go to find everything. For us, it’s our web site. It’s the one place where information is always up to date and everyone has access to it-staff, volunteer, attendee, secret shopper, the information counter-they all have access to the web site. For you, the one place might not be the web. Whatever you choose, stick with that one place and drive everyone back to it. When you talk about volunteering, joining a group, etc., that one place lists all the individual opportunities, dates, times, directions, registration, etc.
Of course, there are always special events that warrant specific priority attention from the platform. Usually this makes sense for big deal events that affect the entire church like Baptism, Membership Classes, unique opportunities that directly apply to the topic you’re discussing in the sermon (i.e., Financial Freedom class when the message is about money.) But, even when you talk about specific events, remember to keep driving people back to that one place to find out the rest of the story.
There are so many benefits to this approach.
People in your church (on both sides of the message) are satisfied with a rewarding experience. They know where to easily find information when they want it.
People in your church take ownership of the invite and spread the word about different opportunities on their own when you empower them with direct access to the information. You eliminate the middle man and give them the tools to share it on their own.
You eliminate redundancy and extra work when you put everything in one place.
The most important benefit of all is this. You are able to diffuse the spirit of competition with ministry leaders jockeying for pole position on the platform. You’re reinforcing the message we are “one church” where ministry happens, not a bunch of individual ministries housed in the church.