Sometimes I attend a nearby church that is clueless on communication.I don’t think that they are alone in having problems adapting to digital age. Because I am an irregular attender, I find myself asking questions like, “What time is the Ash Wednesday service?” or “What craft items do they need for VBS?” or “Is the church still collecting items for flood relief?” I could always call the church office, but when are they open? This church puts out a weekly bulletin, which is packed with worship parts and cryptic notes. This bulletin is optional for those who attend the contemporary service. Let’s face it, no one really reads the bulletin any more. Thank God for the church web site. Wait a minute, it hasn’t been updated in over a year!
This is all exasperated by the way people schedule their lives today. Most of the faithful are irregular, like I am. Their personal schedules shift from week to week. They are used to planning their activities on the fly. The urge to donate to a mission project may strike them late at night or while they are out of town. They’ll go to Saturday night worship this week and the 11 o’clock traditional the next. The savvy church leader uses doodle poll or some other flexible scheduling process to gather their committee members. In planning programs, churches need to provide multiple small group experiences, rather than expect one large event to fit everyone’s lifestyle.
As we have shifted from paper to digital, each of us has chosen their own set of preferred communication tools. Some depend heavily on email, while others send texts. Facebook has become universal, but only some of your members will visit the church’s page. Blogs and twitter may work best for those who always have a mobile device at hand. For most of us, web sites are fall-back resources, that is, we go to them only when we urgently need information. Committee chairs should be given the website password and made responsible for keeping the calendar items and other information current for their work area. No one should have to call the church office to discover when a meeting is going to take place. Don’t forget to post church events to Facebook, so that church friends get an invite and have a chance to indicate if they plan to attend.