Growing as a Religious Communicator

So…you create/manage/disseminate communications on behalf of your religious organization, as staff or a volunteer, on a team or (more likely) by yourself. You do your daily job, get things out on time, but you want to make improvements. Here, you hit the brick wall. How do you find resources for this niche?

There are a few resources for religious communicators, but the greatest depth and breadth of learning material and case studies are being produced to benefit someone’s bottom line. If you can ignore those parts, you can get some great information from the secular world on areas for growth for you in religious communications.

So what are the keywords you need to be using to google the classes, books, coaches, or consultants you could be learning from?

Writing skills: journalism, storytelling, public relations and marketing

Tech skills: social media, blogging, user experience design (UXD), information architecture

Community skills: member management, community management (some say “gardening” is a more apt term, but good luck googling that and getting results on communications), organizational culture (also called corporate culture or company culture), stakeholder buy-in, engagement

If all else fails, add the terms “non-profit,” “digital,” or “ministry” to your search where needed and everytime you see the word “brand” mentally replace it with “identity” if it seems cold and inappriopriate.

Information aimed at businesspeople will talk about “conversions” which has nothing to do with beliefs and everything do with turning site visitors into paying customers. Not really our angle – yes you could keep track of people who found your site and then attended services/meetings, or who found your site and then made donations, but many religious institutions are more about building community, connecting people and fostering their contributions…which is a lot harder to measure than how many widgets were sold.

There’s a lot than can be learned from the corporate sector in terms of these skills – many writers and bloggers and thinkers are trying to push advancements in these fields right now, and religious communicators can ride the wave to enhance the work of the church.

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