Archives for posts with tag: communications

As I mentioned in my last post, I am looking for a job in Boston. This is been a really long process and I have applied to literally hundreds of places. I have read countless job descriptions and requirement lists. For some reason, one that I looked at last week was the only one to stir up a desire to blog about.

In Boston there is a community on the south side of the city called Roxbury. Roxbury carries with it a reputation for being, well… frightening. When you ask anyone what neighborhoods you should avoid, Roxbury is always at the top of the list. I have never actually been to Roxbury so I can not comment personally about the community. I just know what I have heard.

I found a job running communications and social media for a group whose aim is the put down the “racist stereotypes” of the community of Roxbury and highlight the great historical and arts features of the community. That sounds great! I am all about putting down racism and promoting arts. Where do I sign up? I began writing a well-tailored cover letter for the position and checked back at the description page so that I could use particular phrasing to make myself sound perfect for the job. Then I noticed something…

Though the job requested that you have a B.A. And 2 years of experience with PR and social media it only paid $18,000 a year. You can’t even begin to live on that in Boston.

So, a job whose goal is to help show people that Roxbury is not an impoverished haven of crime is not willing to pay someone a living wage to do that job. If I took that job I would also have to sell drugs or rob convenience stores to provide for my family.

I know that the group probably can’t afford to pay more than that. I understand that. However, if you want someone to have a degree and experience, you have to start out by showing a little more employee value.

I have 2 points to make here…

1. Pay your employees well. Don’t hire people if you can’t pay them a living wage. If they have to divide their attention between your job and another job they can’t give you as much devotion as you would need them to.

2. If you want to create a certain image for your organization (non-profit, church, community, etc) don’t directly violate that image with the salary that you offer employees.

I just want to note that I have no intention of defaming the community of Roxbury. It isn’t their fault that this oversight was made. I have already been planning a trip down there to check out the community.


I’m a Mac guy. I own all sorts of Apple products.

I will admit right now that I am severely caught up in the “coolness” of exclusively purchasing Apple products. There is something affirming about sitting at a table at a coffee shop with an over-priced cup of ethically-traded, shade-grown coffee and opening up my laptop so that the soft glow of the Apple logo bursts forth from the brushed silver casing of my MacBook Pro.

With that said, I want to share my opinion on something.

Over the years I have used a variety of different technologies to display words at a church. When I was a kid I changed transparencies on the overhead projector that shown on the white walls inside our sanctuary. I’ve used Powerpoint. I’ve used SongShow. I’ve used MediaShout once or twice.

I have never used a program that had an interface that worked quite as well as ProPresenter loaded on an Apple computer.

At the church I used to work at I purchased an iMac loaded with ProPresenter. For years we had used a PC running SongShow. That method worked well, but there was a pretty long learning curve for volunteers running the software. I would make a volunteer do at least 3 “practice runs” with SongShow before I let them use it on Sunday morning.

With ProPresenter I can give someone a 3 minute tutorial on Sunday morning before a service and trust them to do a decent job of running the slides.

It’s just a lot easier to navigate in a live setting.

Take it or leave it.

A lot of people do really annoying things on Twitter. Here is a fun little list of things you can do on Twitter that will result in me un-following you:

  • Foursquare updates. There are two people in this world that I have a desire to know the whereabouts of at all times: my son and my wife. Please don’t let me know that you checked in at the Taco Palace on 98th St. and that you earned the “I can’t stop eating quesadillas” badge.
  • Asking questions that have the sole purpose of generating “@” replies. For instance: “Who is your favorite Jersey Shore cast member?” or “If you could have lunch with one character from the Bible who would it be?” Some people will fall for your trap. However, more people than you know realize that you are just trying to create traffic.
  • Not replying to my “@” replies. If I take the time to engage you in a conversation on Twitter, please have the respect for me to answer me when I ask you a question. I don’t care how many followers you have. This is especially annoying when I see that you took the time to reply to other people who say things like “@dudebro18 You are so awesome and handsome! I just can’t get over how awesome and handsome you are!”
  • Constantly posting about mundane activities. I’m ok with the occasional “I had this really great pile of tasty squirrel meat for dinner tonight.”… but I don’t need a play by play.
  • Making boring announcements. This one is difficult to deal with, especially for churches. You have to take the time to creatively say things. “Come to the men’s group tonight at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall” is not an interesting tweet. “The men have cooked up a great pile of tasty squirrel meat. They will be consuming it with their bare hands at 6pm tonight.” is a little better. I regularly do a bad job with this one.
  • Constantly re-tweeting. If all you can do is pass along other peoples’ ideas, you probably shouldn’t be using Twitter. Once again, re-tweets are ok from time to time… just don’t make it your only form of communication. This is especially annoying when you follow a bunch of Christians. They all re-tweet the same people. When Donald Miller tweets about how great his poop was this morning I hear about it from 45 people.

I’m currently transitioning from being part of the communications team at a church of 1,000 in the Bible Belt to being a part of a brand new church plant of 100 in Boston. I’m really interested in seeing how this new scenario shapes my thoughts in this blog.

I think that I’ve learned all I need to learn about church communications.

That may sound arrogant, but let me explain.

I’ve figured something out that a lot of you may have already figured out. It seemed like such an astounding revelation to me at the time, but looking back it seemed so obvious.

Here goes…

Having a church communication strategy doesn’t matter. Having an effective social media presence doesn’t matter. Having good graphic design doesn’t matter.

At this point I’m sure you are asking yourself: “but aren’t those things the whole point of your blog? Where are you going with this?”

Here’s where I’m going…

There are things you are doing with your church communication that are distracting from the message from Christ. Sometimes this could be bad graphic design. Sometimes this could be cheesy, therapeutic slogans on your church’s sign. Sometimes this could be a website that gives no one the information that they need.

But there are other things you are doing that are distracting from the message of Christ. Your great web design might be distracting from the gospel. Your engaging social media presence may be taking people’s attention from Christ. Your perfect adherence to every single thing you’ve ever learned from Kem Meyer could even be taking away from letting God do His will in your church.

What I’m saying is that sometimes doing things well is just as destructive as doing things poorly. What I’m saying is that when the quality of our performance is more important than pointing people toward a life-changing relationship with Christ, we are doing far more damage than if we allow Papyrus to grace the pages of our newsletter.

When we are on our faces praying and fasting and begging God to do his will in our lives it doesn’t matter how nice our facilities are, how creative our worship is, or how often our pastors blog.

Consider the following words about the church of Acts from David Platt’s book Radical:

I see a small band of timid disciples huddled together in an upper room. They know they need God’s power…

…This is the group that the spread of Christianity depends on. So what are they doing? They are not plotting strategies. They are “joined together constantly in prayer”. They are not busy putting their faith in themselves or relying on themselves. They are pleading for the power of God, and they are confident that they are not going to accomplish anything without his provision.

As you know from the story of Acts 2 3,000 people are brought to Christ in one day.

How is that for a church growth strategy? Pray and seek God and trust Him.

If your church isn’t on Twitter you don’t need to use Twitter to engage your congregation.

If a majority of your church doesn’t know what an RSS feed is, you probably don’t want to spend too much time making sure that your pastors are blogging.

If most of your church likes good old fashioned traditional church music, you don’t need a contemporary service.

With that said…

If your church is highly saturated with smart phone users you probably don’t need to send out a paper copy of your newsletter.

If your church members participate in a monthly bloggers meet up you should probably make sure that at least one of your pastors is involved in that group.

If your church’s facebook page has as many fans as you have attendees on Sunday mornings, you should be using your facebook page as a tool to communicate.

Would you rather watch a commercial for a local used car dealer (the ones with a sloppily-dressed man yelling at the top of his lungs about how great his deals are) or watch a well-written, thoughtful ad? Let me put it this way…

Would you rather watch this:

Or this:

There is a good chance that your church’s marketing reads a lot more like the first commercial.

I want to encourage you to get creative with your marketing. Don’t copy other people’s ideas… come up with your own. Get your hands dirty. Do a little bit of extra work.

It will be worth it.