The XPastor Online Course on Operations 102–Communications encourages students to develop a communications strategy for their church. Below is the Communications Strategy of one of our students, the Executive Pastor for Seven Mile Road Church in Boston, Massachusets.
The communications strategy of Seven Mile Road consists primarily of virtual communications to internal audiences through The City and external audiences through www.sevenmileroad.org. Visual communications supplement these efforts through video—available virtually—and artwork/signage— available online and physically. Items needing even more exposure will receive announcements on Sunday mornings and/or gospel community gatherings. Less often, formal communications will be necessary to satisfy legal obligations, publicity needs, or obligations to the membership.
(To view image of organizational matrix, please see original PDF below this article.)
Our primary and foundational internal communications tool at Seven Mile Road is The City. Because The City allows targeted congregational, team, and/or gospel community specific communication overseen by the group leader, every1 item of internal communication (e.g. gospel community events, church-wide announcements, prayer requests) at Seven Mile Road will begin as Virtual Communication2 through The City.
The Seven Mile Road website is our primary external communications tool and is geared towards familiarizing those not already engaged with Seven Mile Road with her mission, beliefs, and distinctives, while also providing an invitation into community. Additionally, the website provides a way of consistent updates and writing to external recipients. When possible, however, links to The City should be used to maintain consistency in message and phrasing.
Planning Center Online is used for all Sunday Operations scheduling, including bands, A/V Team, preachers, liturgy leaders, Seven Mile Kids volunteers, SetUp Team, Welcome Team, and for distribution of Liturgy Information.
More significant communication items that receive Visual and/or Gathered communication support still begin with Virtual Communication, with the virtual component being linked to all further communication levels.
More significant items will receive further platform and resources through:
- Video published on The City3 and/or www.sevenmileroad.org
- In-seat handouts4 and/or videos5 on Sundays
Additionally, The City group leaders at all levels of the organization are able to run promos to members of their The City group.
The significance of certain items (e.g. upcoming baptisms, Mission and Vision Night, New Member Classes) will demand that attention is given in one or more of the following ways while Seven Mile Road is gathered:
- Sunday morning announcement7
- Gospel Community
The Executive Pastor, with the input of Local Lead Pastors9, will determine what items receive Gathered Communications support and how that can be executed most effectively.
These are the least frequent of communications at Seven Mile Road but are essential for legal or publicity reasons. Formal Communications include mailings to members or donors and occasional press releases. Additionally, Mission and Vision Nights allow for the gathering of members together for vision, updates, and prayer and are a form of internal Formal Communication.
Supplemental Communication Efforts
Seven Mile Road10 uses the following social media platforms to support all levels of communication where appropriate:
The appropriateness of social media support is gauged by:
- Whether intended audience will be reached with this medium.
- The effectiveness of particular medium in sounding forth the message (i.e. Is there a way unique to this medium that will help convey this message?) and our ability to leverage the medium to that end given current resources.
Seven Mile Road Social Media support is under the direction of the Executive Pastor.
Outside advertising must conform to branding standards of Seven Mile Road. Local Lead Pastors are encouraged to leverage strategic promotional opportunities to advance the mission of Seven Mile Road but should notify the Executive Pastor of these efforts. The Executive Pastor must approve any paid advertising.
1Posts to the Seven Mile Road blog often receive their The City mention through Weekly Updates, but may not necessitate an individual post in the Seven Mile Road City Group.
2Some items (e.g. Weekly Updates with Upcoming Liturgy Information) will be posted simultaneously on The City and on the website for the most availability.
3Video production value should be reflective of the video’s purpose, intended audience, and method of distribution.
4Unless mandated across all Seven Mile Roads, in-seat handouts are distributed at the discretion of the Local Lead Pastor.
5Promotional video may be used before/after worship services and in building foyers at discretion of Local Lead Pastor, but not within liturgy unless previously approved by Executive Pastor.
6All Seven Mile Road Sermon Series will be promoted through specific artwork to be used at all local Seven Mile Roads. Other promotional signage will include Baptism Sundays, Mission and Vision Nights, and local initiatives.
7This will occur between the Scripture Reading and KidSermon.
8At the preacher’s discretion, announcement can either lead off the sermon or be inserted in sermon where appropriate.
9Local Seven Mile Roads may have mission-specific Gathered Communication needs that should be discussed with the Executive Pastor.
10Local Seven Mile Roads may operate local social media accounts at the discretion of their respective Local Lead Pastor, but are to be active and strategic in their operation. While these accounts can repeat Seven Mile Road content, they must also be creating unique content and interacting within their own missional target group.
View image in the original PDF: Communications Strategy