If no one Knows, no one Shows
Good programming begins with good communication.
After serving in youth ministry for many years, I have learned one thing for sure and that is that communication is the key. The list is a mile long for what needs to be communicated and communicated clearly. We ask ourselves questions like, do the parents know when we meet for worship? Do the students know how to sign up for small groups? Does everyone know summer camp costs? Do they have the correct waivers that need to be filled out before Sunday? It can get a bit stressful.
Here is the truth. If no one knows, no one shows. If the parents and students of your youth ministry program are unclear about the details of a particular event, you can be sure they will not be in attendance. The first step in creating an impactful worship experience is clear communication.
So, how can you make sure they know? How do you distribute details so everyone is fully informed? How can I, as the communications coordinator, impact the student worship experience?
Our culture is oversaturated with communication. Smart phones offer instant access to emails, phone calls and texts. We have to over compensated to be heard.
Here are 10 simple ways to improve your communication.
1. Don’t be overly wordy or cute. You aren’t winning the Pulitzer Prize for your email, text, newsletter or bulletin write-up. Consider giving a quick overview of your information with synched bullet points to follow. Focus on being clear and concise instead of descriptive and boring. Strive to answer the 4 W’s: who, what, when, where.
2. Diversify your avenues of communication. Don’t expect emails to be an effective way to to inform people on their own. Consider perfectly timed postcards for large events or new series, personalized letters from youth staff leadership, invite cards for handing out to friends, creatively utilizing social media, announcements from the pulpit, old fashioned phone calls and seasonal calendars with ACCURATE dates and information.
3. It is always better feeling like you have something to say rather than feeling like you have to say something. Make sure your form of communication is worth the individual’s interaction. If families receive the same effort and style of communication for every event or program, than it will become white noise. Consider developing a matrix to determine what experience receives what investment.
4. Make sure your information is consistent on all your platforms. Have your calendars, websites and social media agree at all times.
5. Money spent on good design and visually appealing communication is always money well spent. Often times the individual will decide to attend a program based on the “eye test.” If it looks good, it must be good. If it looks thrown together, they may stay home.
6. Give hard deadlines to the youth ministry staff to submit details for upcoming experiences. Don’t budge on these expectations because the ability to have everyone informed depends on it.
7. Think of the most “Type A” parent you have in your program. Work as if every parent is that parent. What questions would they ask? What information would they want to know? What things would set them off? Appease that one parent and you will appease them all.
8. Triple check every piece of communication coming from your team. Maybe even quadruple
9. Assume parents and student will not read the information you send out. That way you are not upset when questions come in that you have already answered. Communication requires grace.
10. Remind yourself that parents are the primary disciplers of their kids. Your job is to make their job easier.
The way I see my job on the team that I serve is to make each one of them look good by the information I send. It’s also to make my volunteers and parents feel loved and appreciated. So, smile a bunch, have fun and thank God everyday that you have a role in leading youth to Jesus.