My first day as a Church Communications Director will never be forgotten.  Because I studied Marketing in college I believed I knew exactly how to communicate with our church and market to our local community.  As I sat at my desk on the first day as a Communications Director I realized I had a TON to learn.

“In all honest I was overwhelmed and scared.  During the interview process I presented myself as a savvy marketer and communicator.  I quickly realized I exaggerate a bit on my skills.”

Thankfully with the support of my direct report and tons and tons of researching I eventually grew as a communications leader.  In the early days I literally spent half of my work hours learning.  From reading hundreds of blogs, attending tons of conferences, digesting books and learning from others I FINALLY started to see positive results.

This is not a self-pity party article. I love the local church and the pastors who serve people each day.  And I deeply believe churches are positioned to grow their church and reach more people with intentional communications and marketing.

That is why I am starting a Sayge Coaching Group.  Here are the ideas for the group -

  • Join a Limited Group of Communication Directors and Church Leaders (Any Church Leader of Any Position is Available for Coaching Group)
  • Receive Initial One-on-One Church Communications Assessment Identifying Strengths and Growth Areas with Tim Peters
  • Engage in Six Group Virtual Coaching Calls Cover the Common Communication Challenges -
    1. Coaching Session #1 - Learn from Other Group Participants with a Presentation of their Communications ‘Current Reality’ and ‘Desired Future’. If the group forms we will provide each participant a Communications Assessment template to assess their communications effectiveness.  The Assessment template will help each participant evaluate the history of their church, the future of their church, the ‘current reality’ and ‘desire future’ of their church communications and church.
    2. Coaching Session #2 - Learn How To Identify the Unique DNA of Your Church. I wil guide you through interactive exercises to clarify your unique DNA.
    3. Coaching Session #3 - Learn How To Create Communication Standards, Systems and Strategy to Advance the Vision of Your Church.  I will teach you how to create standards, systems and a strategy to present your vision as the most important communication message.
    4. Coaching Session #4 - Learn How To Utilize the Internet and Social Media to Build Relationships with Members and Guests.  Your website is your digital front door and I will help you create a web experience, not just a website.
    5. Coaching Session #5 - Learn How To Establish Healthy Relationships with Senior and Ministry Leaders.  Oftentimes, Senior Leaders are not involved in church communication decisions. I will help you engage other ministry leaders to help communicate what matters.
    6. Coaching Session #6 - Learn from Group Members Follow Up of Communications ‘Desired Future’ Status.  At the end of Coaching Program each participant will be closer and closer to their ‘Desired Reality’.  Together we will learn from each other and learn how to improve your own communications desires.

At the moment I am still in the experimental stage of developing Sayge Coaching Program.  In fact, I will not launch the Coaching Program if a committed group of church leaders is not willing to invest in training.

Plus I would be willing to provide these free bonuses -

  • Have Unlimited Access to My Private Email Address to Ask Questions
  • Receive a Free Subscription of  My Sayge Training Program (Value of $420)
  • Benefit from Receiving a List of Trusted Creative Providers with Guaranteed Discounted Rates (List Includes: Website, Social Media, Design and More Organizations)

I want to help church leaders learn from successes and failures over the past 10 years of working church communications. But, I am looking for church leaders who believe intentional communications can grow their church.  I know I can help you learn the basics of church communications through my education of speaking at conferences, working at local church and consulting with churches across the Nation.

Here would be the requirements to joining the coaching group -

  • Leading a Communications Department and/or a Responsibility or Passion for Church Communications
  • Believe Intentional Communications Can Help Local Churches Grow
  • Willingness to Invest in Coaching Group Both Financially and Educationally – If I cannot help you improve your communications, I will refund your money. 
  • Commit to Attending Each Virtual Group Call and Monthly Exercises and Reading
  • Humility to Help and Learn from Other Church Leaders

Well … If you are interested in learning more about the coaching group, fill out the form below. Please make sure you read the requirements before submitting interest.  (You are not committing to group by filling out form.) I am limiting the group to no more than 7 churches.  Those who submit interest will be on top of the waiting list.

Does your church communicate everything? Every softball tournament, every fundraiser, every potluck dinner, every youth event, well everything? Here is what happens if you do -

If your church communicates everything, your church is communicating nothing.

It is simply impossible for the human brain to receive and absorb multiple messages at one time. In order to pierce the hearts of people your message must be crystal clear. Unfortunately, finding clarity in church communications is not easy.

But it is critically important your church identifies what should be communicated. Why?
Because clear and consistent communication is required for any relationship or organization to grow.
Any marriage, any friendship, and especially the relationship between the local church and people requires great communication.

Learn More and Download Free eBook – HERE

My time at Create Conference in Canada was wicked good, eh? I enjoyed connecting with leaders from around the Nation.  I resonated with the work of Jeremy Cowart.  Jeremy is an artist and photographer. But, he uses his artistic abilities to tell stories brining glory to God.  Although, he has ‘shot’ Tim Tebow, Carrie Underwood and many other celebrities; I was most inspired by his ability to be creative.

Here is the best way to be creative … Ready?

Create SPACE to Listen

Jeremy believes everybody is creative as our God is creative and we are created in His image.  However, many times our lives are jam-packed and leave no time for listening.  Create space in your calendar for space.  Listen, listen and listen. Listen while working, traveling, walking, etc.

Listen and you will hear the whispers of God directing you.  Then act without fear and obey.

How do you generate creativity? 

Ever watched a movie that moved you to tears or made you laugh out loud or both?

If so, then you have experienced both the art and science of storytelling.

Video Storytelling involves using the characters, the storyline, the music, and the video background footage to tell you what to think and feel, and it impacts you in such a way that you remember not just the story, but the message of the story.

Our Stories Impact the Faith of Others

As a church, we have the ability to use the art and science of storytelling to impact the kingdom of God. Our faith is impacted by the faith of others. We are challenged or encouraged by what has challenged or encourages others.

Our churches are filled with stories of real life people, living out their faith in real ways.

Here are examples of effective storytelling videos:

Baptism Celebration from WoodsEdgeMedia on Vimeo.

What are you doing to capture the stories in your church?

This Summer, seven thought leaders will enter one room for a full day to identify and solve the challenges churches face with marketing and communications.  At Sayge, we have surveyed hundreds and hundreds of church leaders to identify the most common church communications challenges.  With our survey data we will creatively and collaboratively uncover the solutions to these common communication challenges.

You might be asking, “Great, but how does that help me?” Good question.  The second day of our Lab will be spent in the video production room.  We are going to give church leaders inside access to our time with one another.  Then we are going to publish an online conference for church leaders to watch and learn.

This is going to be a fantastic learning experience.  We want you to stay in-the-loop on conference dates, times and specifics.  Simply fill out the below form and we will send you emails providing information on conference details.


 

Don’t Be Someone’s No

Ever think about asking someone to serve in your ministry, but you’re so certain that they’ll say “No” that you don’t even bother to ask them?  (Come on, you know you’ve done it!)

Instead of saying no for them, why not just ask them and let them answer for themselves? They just might say, “Yes!”

No One Swims Toward a Sinking Ship

Ever asked someone to serve on your team from a place of desperation? If you’ve ever used this method or been tempted to, it doesn’t work.  It makes your potential volunteers think something is either wrong with you as a leader or you as a volunteer.

People want to serve with great leaders on positive teams that are moving forward (not sinking.)

When inviting people to serve, give them all the positive reasons they will want to serve on your team.

One Is a Lonely Number

Let’s face it.  Some volunteer roles really don’t require more than one person.  Even if that is the case, try to give all of your volunteers opportunities to build community.  When people feel isolated or alone, it’s lonely, and not a fun way to serve.

 As long as your volunteers feel like they are on a “team” they will happily serve in their “one-man” role.

Keep it Real When It Comes to Praise

People need to be reminded (often) why they are doing what they are doing.  Real, actual reasons.  Sure it sounds very spiritual to say that people are changing people’s lives, or impacting the Kingdom, but you have to tell them whose life they are actually changing or in what way they are actually impacting the kingdom.

Just remember to keep it real.

What are some of the best methods you use to recruit new volunteers and/or to help them succeed?

Sayge Resource Reminder: We are extending our introductory offer of $29.99 per month today. By subscribing today you can lock-in the rate of $29.99 for the duration of training program. Thursday, May 24 the monthly price increases to $34.95.  Join today and save $100.

Subscribe Here

 

General Colin Powell is an exceptional leader.  I am a fan of General Powell and enjoyed his presentation at Willow Creek Leadership Summit a couple of years back.  I am a far better leader because of his leadership thoughts.  One of my favorite pieces of content from General Powell is his list of Leadership Rules.  Below you will find 13 great rules to follow as a leader.

1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done!
5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Which leadership rule is your favorite?  Leave a comment below.

about_benI have the privilege of presenting great content marketing and strategy ideas from my interview with Ben Stroup.  Ben is a phenomenal thought leader in the content marketing and strategy space.  Read and review information below and put these thoughts into practice as you create inspiring and relevant content for your Church Communications Strategy.

1. Why should churches be interested in content marketing?

Two words—Predictive Search. The way people discover churches today and especially in the future will be what services like Google Now and other knowledge graphs think are relevant based on our habits. Thus, contextualized context has the best chance of breaking through the clutter and getting noticed by others. Studies show that consumers are 57 percent of the way through a buying cycle before they will engage a vendor. The same is true for churches. The first time someone visits your campus is not the first time they’ve visited your church. They done so via peer networks, online research, and personal brand perception.

2. How can churches develop inspiring and consistent content?

Churches are already great at creating content. Every week videos, sermons, small group materials, and social media content are shared online, in print, and from the platform. The challenge for churches comes in applying a systematic approach that can be monitored, managed, and measured. The distribution of content will be particularly complex as churches determine different segments with any size congregation have different native habits around content consumption. It is the responsibility of the message sender to minimize the number of messages created so that the number of distribution channels can be increased.

3. What practical tips can churches use to generate compelling content?

Great content begins with seeing the world through the eyes of the people you want to reach. Understand their native content consumption habits. Get familiar with the questions they are asking about the world. Stay connected to the obstacles and tension points they talk about and push through in their lives. And understand how you can help become the best version of themselves possible. If you lose touch with the person you want to reach, your content—no matter how creative or compelling—will not create opportunities to engage with others and see life change happen.

4. Do you have a list of applications or resources churches can use when creating compelling content?

This will—and should be—different for every church. Further, the tools should be customized for every segment of your congregation. Start with the person, refine your message, understand what you want them to do next, and challenge them through a variety of channels that will ensure you connected with a broad base of your membership. The tools of communication and content marketing will no doubt change over time. The principles, however, will stay the same. Keep people—and human relationships—at the core of everything you do. Resist the temptation to fall back on your personal preferences. Instead, lean into the lives of the people you want to reach.

In January of 2013, we launched Sayge Resources, with one goal in mind, to help churches share the most important message on the planet.

Sayge is a systematic, intentional training resource for Church Communication Leaders.  It’s delivered monthly, complete with videos, eBooks and action tools that guide you and your team to mastering the 12 essentials of church communications.

And because Sayge is a communications strategy resource, we’d be crazy not to take our own advice and evaluate our own systems.   So as part of our quarterly self-evaluation, we conducted a survey to ask our users how we’re doing.

Here’s the good stuff:

  • We’re working with hundreds of churches that are very happy with the product.
  • Pastors and Leaders love our content.  They’ve used words like phenomenal, superb, user-friendly, and rich.
  • Our videos, eBooks and action tools are incredibly well designed.
  • Our materials are manageable.  Not so much information that the monthly training can’t be put into practice right away, but enough information to make a real impact.
  • We’re saving people hours of time by giving them step-by-step directions to help them manage the madness of church communications.
  • We’re saving churches money by helping them utilize volunteers with our great volunteer training, specific to church communications ministry.

Here’s the not so good stuff:

  • We need to beef up our content delivery software.
  • We need some stand alone resources to enhance the materials we offer.

So here’s what we are doing to make Sayge an even more effective resource for churches and church communication leaders:

  • We spent countless hours and thousands of dollars establishing a relationship with an amazing content delivery company.  They’re the best in the business ensure seamless content delivery straight to your email every 30 days.
  • We are creating a password-protected blog to give our subscribers free resources and access to our online community of experts.
  • We are working with our development team to provide incredible stand-alone resources that will help in the day-to-day operations of church communications ministry.
  • We are producing an online Church Communications conference with the very best thought leaders in the space.  IT WILL BE FREE FOR ALL SUBSCRIBERS.

We feel pretty great about our first quarter.  We offered a great product, at a great introductory price, and we’re grateful for the churches that have entrusted their communications to us.

And before our introductory price goes away forever, we want to give new subscribers the opportunity to join us.  We are providing 50 subscriptions and they will receive the incredible introductory offers at the same great introductory price, locked in, forever.

But hurry, once the 50 subscriptions are gone, it’s the monthly cost will increase to $39.95.  Of course Sayge will still be phenomenal money saving training resource at the regular price of $39.95.  But we’d love to include you in our elite group of introductory subscribers.

Be one of the first 50 churches to subscribe and save $110 a year for life!

You request link to introductory subscription by filling out the below form or clicking here -


If you would like to receive a link for the introductory rate for Sayge Training Program, please fill out the below form.
 
 

ContentStrategyRecently I read a superb book entitled Content Strategy for the Web (2nd Edition) by Kristina Halvorson. The book is presented as a way for corporations to generate relevant web content to attract new business.  But, the book is full helpful tips churches should use to produce web content that inspires and engages people.  Oftentimes, churches have a difficult time generating great content for their website and social media platforms.  This book and the below information from chapter 3 is a great tool to help you create content strategy that helps develop content.

Here is a great way to develop a Content Strategy -

CoreStrategy

What is a content strategy?

Content is what the user came to read, learn, see or experience.  Therefore, a content strategy guides your plans for the creation, delivery, and governance of content.  A strategy is an idea that sets the direction for the future.

At the very center is the core content strategy. This defines how an organization will use content to achieve its objectives and meet its user needs.

Substance 

  • What kinds of content do we need? What messages does content need to communicate to our audience? 

Structure 

  • How is content prioritized, organized, formatted and displayed?

Workflow 

  • What processes, tools, and human resources are required for content initiatives to launch successfully and maintain ongoing quality? 

Governance 

  • How are key decisions about content and content strategy made? 

Content strategy connects real content to real people.

Developing a content strategy is critical as the church has the most important content in the world to communicate.  However, if a strategy is not in place everything will be communicated.  And if everything is communicated, nothing is communicated.  More than likely, without a content strategy the most important information and gospel message will be drowned out with event and ministry announcements.

Use the above chart and content to develop a content strategy to help you communicate what matters.

How does your church develop fresh content on a regular basis?