New Communications Processes

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Pastor's Blog

How does the church communicate ministries and events?
How are announcements chosen for the email, video announcements, and social media?
Why was my announcement not included this week?
What’s going on with the new website?

These are a few of the questions we’ve received lately about our church communications. We hear you, and we understand your frustration. 

Our Communications Team has mapped out how and where we communicate, the criteria for different methods of communication, and a consistent way for you to provide the information we need to communicate ministries and events well. Everything will have a place, though, not everything can be communicated everywhere.

Once implemented, this will make it so you can always find the information you need to participate fully in the ministries of the church. 

Where Do We Communicate?

There are many ways the church communicates, whether directed at the full church, the community, or individual ministries. Here is a list of the most common ways we communicate.

  • Sunday Morning Video Announcements
  • Sunday Morning Stage Announcements
  • Weekly All-Church Emails (Wednesday Mornings)
  • Ministry-Focused Emails (family ministry, United Women in Faith, Missions Team, etc.)
  • Social Media
  • Church Website (new website coming this summer)
    • Events Calendar (public-facing events)
    • Member Calendar (Google Calendar with all events listed)

What Gets Communicated Where?

Obviously, not everything can be communicated everywhere. It is necessary to develop standard criteria for what gets communicated where. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss lunch on Sunday mornings because announcements took 45 minutes! 

We have broken down announcement criteria based on the percentage of the church to which an announcement likely applies. 

Announcements will be considered for the following mediums based on the criteria for each. However, staff and the communications team will have discretion over what announcements make it into each medium each week (more on that later)

Applies to 70% or More of the Congregation

  • Sunday Morning Video Announcements (Max of 4 each week)
  • Weekly All-Church Email (Max of 7 each week)

Applies to 50% or More of the Congregation

  • Stage announcement during service (bullet points with a call to get more info elsewhere, max of 3 each week)

Applies to Less Than 50% of the Congregation

  • Announcement slide on sanctuary screens before and after worship services
  • Emails directly to appropriate groups from the group’s ministry leaders (more on this in a minute)

Social Media Posts

  • Announcements on social media must apply to the greater community outside the church, cannot be individual fundraisers, and will be at the discretion of the communications team. The purpose of social media is to engage the world outside our walls. Therefore, announcements will be posted sparingly and only if they apply to those outside our walls. 

Deadlines To Submit Your Announcements

The best way to grow our church and our ministries is to plan ahead. To communicate consistently and well, we need to have a system in place to allow us to put together strong communications, graphics, and strategies for communicating various announcements. 

The following deadlines will be met for all announcements and communications. A link to a standard announcement request form is below.

E-Bulletin: Submit 10-days prior to publication

Video Announcements: Submit 14-days prior to publication

Stage Announcements: Submit 10-days prior to publication

Announcement Slides: Submit 10-days prior to publication

Social Media Posts: Submit 10-days prior to publication

The more each of us plans ahead, the better we can communicate with the intended audience, the more people will engage, and the healthier our church will be. 

These are the minimum requirements for announcement submissions. The earlier you submit your announcements, the more likely they get the attention they deserve.

How to Submit an Announcement Request

We want each of our announcements to be as thorough and as compelling as possible when communicated. To help us ensure our best efforts, we have put together a form on the website where all announcements should be submitted, including specific information all announcement requests must provide.

View the Form Here

How Are Announcements Chosen Each Week?

In many weeks, we will have more announcements than we can fit into various mediums. No one wants to sit through 30 minutes of announcements on Sunday morning, right?

With the help of our deadlines above, our church staff and communications team (including Joe and Courtney Garrison of Moonflower Marketing, our contracted marketing consultants) will take all the announcements received and spend dedicated time at the weekly staff meeting, assigning them to the appropriate mediums. 

The sooner you turn in your announcements, the more opportunities there will be for them to run in one or more places.

If your announcement will not run for any reason, you will receive a follow-up email after the staff meeting (Wednesdays) letting you know.

Empowering Ministries to Communicate Directly

We will do our best to communicate as much as we can and as often as we’re able. However, we can all agree that not every announcement will need to be made to the entire congregation. The most effective place for some announcements will be to come from individual ministry leaders to their participants and volunteers. 

In the coming weeks, we will be helping individual ministry and group leaders build an email list of their participants and training them on how to communicate more effectively and directly with their people. 

Communications directly from ministry leaders can be made more frequently and more directly than communications from the all-church level.

What Will Go on The New Website?

We are in the process of building the new website. We know…you’ve been hearing that for a few years. The new website WILL be launched this summer. We promise.

The new website will have information on all of our ministries. There will also be two calendars on the website. 

From the top navigation bar, there will be an “Events” page. This page will have a calendar of events open to everyone, including the public. These will be events designed to encourage the participation of those inside and outside the church or apply to 70% or more of the congregation internally.

In the footer navigation will be a “Member Calendar.” This will be a Google Calendar with every single meeting, study, program, and event hosted at the church. If it has a date and time, it will be on this calendar (if submitted to the church). Not all of them will be public-facing events, but they will be listed so you can always find what is happening at the church. 

Together We Can Communicate Better

With your help and cooperation, we can greatly improve how we communicate at Castleton UMC. It will take all of us being more intentional and disciplined in our planning and execution of the ministries, programs, and events in our care. 

Sure, there might be a few growing pains as we all get used to planning a little further ahead and providing more information than we’ve been used to providing to our communications team. 

In the end, all of the ministries we love and care for will be able to reach more people, and our impact will grow. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation! 

~ Castleton Communications Team, Pastor Matt Landry, and Your Castleton Staff