How To Design The Best Church Communication Strategy Today

Last Updated May 13, 2024

 Why is having a church communication strategy important?

An average person receives 121 emails and 1,831 texts per day. This makes it difficult for your church to cut through the noise and stand out. Having a powerful church communication strategy will help.

“Having a communication strategy and plan is essential to ensure that your messaging is consistent and tells a unified story that ties back to your overall mission and objectives,” says Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications.

As Krause suggests, a powerful church communication strategy will:

  • Ensure consistent messaging
  • Keep the messages aligned with the church’s vision
  • Engage the audience better and keep them involved with the church.

This post will outline how to start improving or building a communication strategy for your church.

What is a church communication strategy?

A church communication strategy is not just limited to pastoral communication. It also considers all the internal and external communication the church sends (and receives).

A basic communication plan should give a detailed breakdown of 

  • what(how) to say
  • when to say it
  • whom to say it to

You can go one step further to make your church communication more effective. 

You can analyze the responses received and use them to inform future communication efforts. E.g., if text messages get better responses, more communication is sent via texts. 

The latter portion (the analysis and update) makes your strategy unique to your church. It will help you understand:

  • What kind of communication does your congregation prefer (e.g., do reminders and update work?)
  • What communication channels get a better response (e.g., do text messages perform better than phone calls?)
  • When is the best time to send messages for maximum impact (e.g., instead of reaching out on Sundays, can middle-of-the-week text improve engagement?)?

You can craft a church communication plan aligned with your mission and vision based on the above insights. 

Read Also: The Most Optimum Times to Send Nonprofit Text Blasts 


Church communication strategy: What options do you have for church communication?

Before building a strategy, it is important to understand the various communication modes available to you.

Knowing what they are, and understanding how they can impact your audience (church members), can help you craft a more effective communication plan.

There are two kinds of church communication. Here is a quick look at how they differ.

Type of church communicationTarget audienceImpactExamples
Internal communicationSent to members of the church or those who are already aware of the church and its activities* Engages the audience
* Brings the congregation closer
* Keeps the staff aware and up-to-date of the church’s activities
* Pastoral communication
* Donor communications, 
* Volunteer recruitment, 
* General updates and reminders
* Website
External communicationSent to a new audience or target groups who are not members of the church (yet)* Boosts membership
* Gives visibility to church and its activities
* Provides opportunities for a  new audience to engage with the church
* Social media updates, 
* Promoting upcoming events and sermons, 
* Catchy signage
* Appealing website

Internal communication

All communication that is focused on informing members of the church (or those visitors who are already aware of the church), falls under internal communication.

The primary goal of this communication is to keep the congregation engaged with the church and boost their involvement in various activities (charities and fundraising events).

Here are a few examples of internal church communication.

Some of the popular internal communication channels are: 

External communication

All church communication focused on reaching an audience outside your congregation (or in the community you are trying to reach) becomes external communication.

External church communication promotes the church and its events to the outside world. This helps give the church more visibility and thus boosts new member registration.

Popular examples of external communication are:

The most relevant communication channels here are: 

  • Social media, 
  • Church website, 
  • Signages and posters 
  • Word of mouth
  • Referral (walk-in with a friend)

Note that the channels of communication are not mutually exclusive. That is, a website can just as well be used for internal communication. This list is to ensure that your plan makes the best use of these channels in both forms of communication.

A good church communication strategy strikes a balance between both.

More importantly, it focuses on tying both forms of communication together and uses storytelling to present a compelling & consistent messaging.

Read Next: Church communication cards – A quick guide for growing churches

Problems in executing an effective church communication strategy

Despite having a good grasp (and having a plan) for church communication, most churches still have problems executing it. Here are the common hurdles they face: 

  • Lack of resources (time and staff) 
  • Absence of digital infrastructure
  • Communication efforts take a backseat when compared to other pastoral duties
  • No expertise in handling communication technology

Identifying which of these problems drastically impair the effectiveness of your communication strategy can be a good first step in improving it. 

Problems that hinder communicationSolutions
Lack of resources (time and staff)Actively recruit more volunteers to help with outreach duties

Focus on improving communication around volunteer recruitment

Adopt automation (start with scheduling bulk texts or setting up autoresponders) to take care of the mundane details
Absence of digital infrastructureRun focused fundraising campaigns to raise money for setting one up. 

You can begin with just church communication software and take it from there.

Pick a tool that allows you to grow without heavy upfront investment. A tool like CallHub allows for a pay-as-you-go pricing model that is easy to start and scalable as requirements grow.
No expertise in handling communication technologyUse simple tools like CallHub that need less training and can get you started instantly

For instance, though most churches use websites and Facebook pages for communication, less than half of them use a text messaging service. 

Since text messages are more efficient in engaging the congregation, adding a church texting service can drastically improve communication.

Read Also: Volunteer Appreciation-How To Make Your Volunteers Feel Valued 


A major roadblock to making the change is, of course, the learning curve – learning to use a new tool or training staff acts as a deterrent.

You can get started easily with CallHub, a tool built to require little training and can help you transition to using text messages for church communication.

How to develop a good church communication strategy?

Small churches have an inherent advantage – the members invariably know each other. Their word-of-mouth communication keeps the congregation involved in a way that is enviable by larger congregations. 

Regardless, having a solid strategy can help you overcome that gap. Here is how you can get started with it.

1. Identify the church’s pressing need. (does it sync with the vision?)

Most churches won’t have the bandwidth to address all their communication objectives. In such cases, focus on the most important objective for your church for that quarter (or year).

For instance, if your church needs to boost membership, the church communication plan can focus on external communication, with special attention to the church visitor follow-up strategy.

On the contrary, if raising funds is what your church is struggling with, then the communication plan will revolve around building donor retention and organizing fundraising events.

2. Assess existing communication and ear-mark gaps

Most churches have at least a rudimentary communication plan (even if it is a timetable of daily sermons). This is the starting point. 

Find out how to build on this to make it more suitable for achieving your goals.

E.g., add more external communication elements to your plan to invite new visitors to the church.

3. Define who your target community is

If an ordinary person is bombarded with thousands of ads daily, they will choose (consciously or subconsciously) just those that seem most relevant to them. To ensure that your church’s communication is one of those chosen items, you must define your target community and audience.


From the myriad of marketing messages, people only pick those that are relevant and meaningful to them.

Setting a fixed target community informs your outreach methods and messaging, ensuring that your communications are relevant and valuable to your audience. Your primary target group is further divided into segments categorized by engagement levels, preferences, and capabilities. 

Your messaging and method of communication are tailored differently to suit each group. Personalized, relevant, meaningful, and valuable communications have more chances of being acknowledged and responded to.

For instance, say your target audience is every church adult within a 5km radius of your church. This large group is further divided into:

  • Age groups. (e.g., a millennial’s choice of communication is vastly different from older generations.)
  • Level of engagement: Whether they attend church, how regularly, and if they have served you in any way, etc.
  • First-time, repeat, and lapsed attendees.
  • Responsiveness.

4. Factor in the channels of communication your members would prefer

Millennials and Gen Zs prefer texts to phone calls. Emails are still widely read but garner fewer responses. The older generation prefers post (snail mail) and in-person conversations over other communication channels.

Your communication strategy will determine the best way to communicate (channel to use) based on the composition of the congregation. 

The older generation can be exclusively reached over calls, while the Gen Zs can be contacted via peer-to-peer texts or bulk sms. Making the content more engaging – using MMS can also be an excellent way to retain an interest in your messages.

Remember to use a communication tool (like CallHub) that offers both texting and calling options. To simplify your process, you could also ask your members which mode of communication they prefer when they sign up to receive updates from you.

5. Create journey maps to nurture prospects

It’s not enough to segment members by their preferred mode of communication. You must also segment lists by their current engagement level and use messaging to nurture them to the next level.

Here is an ideal progression of an individual from prospect to engaged member:


Communications change according to an individual’s engagement levels. This includes messaging, appeals, and even frequency and communication channels.

For instance, if you message a visitor too many times a week, they may get frustrated and decide to opt-out. On the other hand, if you are still sending the message “opt-in to get the Lord’s message on your phone, anytime” to an engaged member, you show them that your message is not personalized to their relationship with you.

Creating journey maps for nurturing prospects helps you send each member the right message via the proper channel and with appropriate regularity.

Here’s how to go about nurturing a prospect: 

  1. Get the pool of prospects and divide them by their preferred mode of communication.
  2. Send them messages on these channels, appealing for a small ask (e.g., completing a form seeking personal information, sermon or mass invitations, etc.)
  3. A fraction of these prospects will abide by the request. Congratulations, you have hooked them in! 
  4. Segment these people into the next level. Send them more personalized messages, extra information about your work, and higher appeals. Continue sending lower-barrier requests to people who haven’t yet progressed to the second stage.
  5. Continue sending personalized messages and exclusive information as members progress through the member journey. At the same time, send appeals appropriate for the existing levels to those who haven’t moved from their stage.

Pro-Tip: You can request engaged and active members to help you spread the word about your church and nurture non-progressing prospects to the next stage of the journey map. While this helps low-engaged members progress in the relationship, it also nurtures already engaged members to get more involved with your church.

6. Do you have a follow-up strategy/communication plan for each member/visitor touchpoint

A crucial part of every communication plan is how the church responds to incoming queries or conversations. 

For instance, say a lead enquires about planning a visit on the website. Does your church communication plan involve a response (and subsequent follow-ups) to that?

Remember to think this through for every visitor or member touchpoint like:

  • Form filling on the website.
  • Facebook message.
  • Walk in with a friend.
  • Filling out a church connection card.
  • Texting using a keyword.
  • Connecting during events, etc.

Once the visitor connects, you can follow up with them via peer-to-peer texts, or even bulk texts to move them to becoming a church member.

Read Also: Building A Perfect Church Visitor Follow-up Strategy for Your Church 

7. Get feedback and suggestions from members of the congregation

An excellent way to improve your messaging (and communication channel) is to ask your congregation for their input. 

Their suggestions can help you fill the gaps better (and also introduce new channels).

The survey can be carried out using phone banks or even text messages, which will increase the response. 

8. Avoid redundancy in messaging (never ask for the same information twice!)

Ideally, your communication plan will have 3 different contact sequences:

  1. Visitor communication
  2. New visitor engagement
  3. Existing member engagement

The same person is likely part of all three sequences at different stages. In such cases, ensure that the messaging is not repetitive. A new visitor should not get the ‘welcome to the family’ message twice!

So, even if you build out all the contact sequences separately (and handle them differently), map them all together in one single-member journey. 

This will ensure that your messaging is consistent, adds value, and doesn’t overlap with other messages.

Read Also: 6 of the Best Church Marketing Ideas and 17 Church Marketing Tools to Execute them

9. Check if you have covered the essentials

Your communication plan should 

  1. Segment the target audience,
  2. Outline the message to be crafted for each segment, 
  3. Mention what channel to use and 
  4. Specify when the communication should go out.
  5. Assign an owner to each task -so that there are no misunderstandings among the staff.

Clearly, the communication plan you create will be unique to your church. It will address the areas you want to improve on and also take into account your congregation.

Church communication software can streamline communication. It can help you deliver a consistent message, form a story across all channels, and send it at the right time. 

To help you with this further, here are some church communication best practices you can follow.

So, we wish you all the best in developing a communication strategy for your church. If you have any questions or think we have left out some points, let us know in the comments.

Featured image credits: Brett Sayles