The 12 Essentials of Church Communications


The church is the hope of the world. As church leaders we have the responsibility of communicating the greatest message known to mankind; the only message capable of changing a person’s entire eternity.

The weight of that responsibility is both profound and incredible. It moves us to action and demands that we communicate it well.

Yet oftentimes, churches have a difficult time communicating this message because they don’t understand the basics of church marketing and communications.

Think about it … Is your church clear on who they are and where they are going? Does your church use social media to nurture and grow relationships? Has your church spent unhurried time developing a brand that resonates with people in your church and community? Does your website accurately communicate the uniqueness of your church? Have you evaluated and observed what guests experience on a Sunday morning? Does your community even know you exist?

These things may not seem significant, but they are critical. In fact, they are essential.

A friend of mine created a company called Sayge. Sayge has spent years researching and identifying the 12 Essentials to Church Communications and have developed a resource that equips Church Communications leaders to master them.

The 12 Essentials Church Marketing and Communications are:

Vision Identification
Vision Identification is clarifying who you are, what you do, why you do it and where you are going. You will receive very specific instructions and exercises to achieve clarity on your vision.

Guest Experience
Your first-time guest experience is critical to guests returning to your church, and possibly to any church. The great part is you can improve any experience and we will give you the ultimate experience evaluation checklist to make improvements.

Social Media
Learning to use social media to reach the lost and to extend the influence of the church isn’t just a good idea; it’s a must. The key to social media is interacting with your audience through great content and conversations. We will give you an easy-to-use content calendar to develop and distribute content.

Brand Standards
Brand Standards are the compilation of documents where you articulate your key communication messages, establish a visual identity and explore ways to protect your brand. Your church will receive a Brand Guide to help you create your very own Brand Standards document.

Communication Strategy
Your communication strategy helps you determine what, when and how you will communicate. The development of a communication strategy is critical and we will give you a template to develop a compelling strategy.

Project Systems
Andy Stanley says, “The systems down the hall trump the vision on the wall.” If you don’t have systems in place, standards and strategy mean absolutely nothing. You will receive practical methods and customizable project management system templates.

Web Essentials
Today’s church visitors will most certainly check out your church on the Internet before they attend for the first time. Your website should be a web experience, not just a website. You will receive case studies and critical evaluation tools to help maximize your web experience.

Audience Connection
Ever been disconnected on the phone but not realize it until you have finished speaking? Then you understand the importance of making sure you are connected to your audience. We will give you customizable focus group agendas and surveys to connect with and learn from your audiences.

Volunteer Mobilization
You have an army of creatively gifted people who attend your church every week. Learning to recruit, train and mobilize them will catapult your communications ministry to levels you never dreamed possible. You will receive volunteer job descriptions and master lists on how to recruit and train volunteers.

Creative Leadership
Creative people are not easy to lead and motivate. Understanding how to lead creative people, and those in authority over you who lack creativity is critical. We will equip you as leader with practical ways to lead with meeting agendas, exercises and tips.

External Marketing
Most churches make the same marketing mistakes: the message is not unique; the content is not inviting; and there’s no long-term strategy in place. If that description fits your church’s marketing, it’s time to make some changes. You will receive over 50 practical and relevant ways to market your church.

Storytelling Principles
At the end of the day, stories move people. Effective storytelling is always more effective than just another event announcement. We provide storyboard templates to develop compelling stories that resonate with your audience.

The good news is, you don’t need hours of research, big budgets and countless cups of coffee to master The Essentials of Church Communications. The Sayge monthly training resource replaces the hours of research you’ll spend looking for great marketing and communication resources. And it contains the wisdom of some of the greatest church communication leaders in our nation today.

Each month you will receive a coaching video, comprehensive eBook, and hands-on application tools to help you master the 12 Essentials of Church Communications; and all at a price that won’t break or even stretch your budget.

Check out Sayge if you’re ready to master the basics of Church Communications.

Three Temptations That Destroy Good Leaders

This is a guest post by J. Warner Wallace. Wallace examines these three motives in more detail in his new book, Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels

I’m a cold-case homicide detective. In the many years that I’ve been doing this job, I’ve come to recognize that every murder is driven by one of three sinister motives. It turns out that these same three motives lie behind very crime of the heart, every bad decision, and even every fatal mistake made by a leader. If you can be honest about what motivates you, there’s a good chance you can avoid the destruction that results from allowing yourself to succumb to one of these malicious motives. When I first launched a church as a bi-vocational leader, I carefully constructed my leadership template to guard myself as best I could:

The Temptation of Financial Greed

I probably doesn’t surprise you that many murderers are motivated by money, but killers aren’t the only people who are derailed by greed. When I decided to lead a church as a pastor, I deliberately volunteered my services. I was already being paid as a police detective, and I wanted to make sure that my decisions as a church leader were protected from financial considerations. I began by taking money off the table.

The Temptation of Sexual or Relational Lust

I’ve also worked a number of murders that were driven by sexual or relational desire. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of the threat that this motive poses for those of us who are in leadership; we’ve all seen prominent leaders from every walk of life (both secular and religious) lose their leadership role as the result of a sexual “miss-step” of one kind or another. When I began to lead my group as a pastor, I consciously decided to do everything with my wife attached at my hip. As a police officer, I understood the appropriately high standard that officers must uphold. We cannot even allow the perception of wrongdoing. The same is true for those of us who lead in every other category of life, especially when it comes to the perception of sexual or relational wrongdoing.

The Temptation of Power

People sometimes fail to consider the pursuit of power as a motive, but I’ve investigated many murders that were committed by suspects who either wanted to hold on to some position of status, or wanted to gain influence within their gang or community. The unbridled pursuit of power can also threaten leaders, and I quickly recognized that this motive was my personal area of concern. Those of us who seek to communicate the Gospel want the good news to be heard by as many people as possible; the greater our position of influence within a community, the greater the opportunity to share the truth. It’s easy to allow our desire for influence (in order to accomplish something good) to become selfishly motivated (and result in something bad). When I planted the church, I made the conscious decision to establish a model that limited the size of our group. Anything above 50 people required us to establish additional leadership and launch a sister group that autonomously continued the mission under their own leadership. I recognized my own area of weakness and did what I could to limit its impact on my role as a leader.

Three motives lie behind every criminal act and every leadership miss-step. When I’m investigating a murder, I typically begin by looking for the person in the life of the victim who was driven by one of these motives. This person is very likely the suspect in my case. When I examine my own leadership failures, I typically begin by looking for how I might have allowed one of these three motives to influence my decision-making. If I can honestly say that none of these factors are driving me, there’s a good chance that I’ve protected myself from the destruction that results from these three temptations.

A Dozen Things I Learned Last Year

two elementary school students looking at globe

I strive to be a continual learner. I learned a few things last year.

Here are 12 of them:

Small things matter most in making change.

Shower gel, shampoo and conditioner in one. Who knew? Changed my gym shower life. (Apparently my wife and boys did but they never let me in on the fun!)

A conference room table can also be used as an ironing board.

Certain neckties interfere with our television broadcasts. (This year we are looking to upgrade our system.) For now, it is a good excuse not to wear a tie, right?

Some people aren’t upset with you. They are upset with their life…or others…and you just happen to be in the way of expressing their frustration and discontent.

Transitioning to a new city happens faster when you’re intentional. And one way to do that is to learn all the hamburger joints. Another is to intentionally network with people…especially people who will connect you to other people.

Resistance to change is relative. Everyone struggles with it at some level. It’s just a matter of how we react to it and how it impacts us that determines our response.

Having done both, I have to say, church planting, in many ways, is easier than church revitalization…and more difficult in other ways. But both are needed.

Losing a beloved pet as an adult may be harder even than as a child.

Lexington, KY is one of the friendliest cities we’ve ever experienced. It would make a great, inexpensive, family weekend vacation spot.

Trust doesn’t come with position or title. It comes with time and experience. Yet gaining trust may be one of the most important aspects of being an effective leader.

People transfer emotional baggage and injury to other people and other situations, who had nothing to do with creating the emotional pain. It is unfair to the innocent recipients, but very true.

What did you learn last year?

A Dozen Bible Verses for Leaders (Repost)

(End of the year countdown of the most read posts this year.)

If you want to be a Biblical leader, consider these:

“Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.Exodus 18:21

With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand. Psalm 78:72

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. Matthew 20:26

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Perhaps you should choose one or two of these, write them down somewhere you’ll see it often, and commit it to memory. Of the ones about, which would most help your leadership right now?

What other verses would you recommend to leaders?

Politics in the church…

Someone asked, “Why are there politics in the church?”

Without trying to be condescending I answered simply…

Because there are people in the church.

Where people gather…things will often get political

Special interests. Personal agendas. Group platforms. Jockeying for position, power and influence.

Sounds like politics to me.

Sounds like church.

We shouldn’t be surprised when politics appear in the church. Frankly, I would be more surprised if there wasn’t and I grow a little suspicious of what is being hidden when there isn’t.

Just being honest and speaking from experience.

Remember James and John…two of Jesus’ closest disciples? (Mark 10:35-45)

Sounds somewhat political to me. Jockeying. Platforms. Agendas. Special interests.

How did Jesus reply?

Jesus knew that the desire for position was normal. He didn’t scold them. He validated their position as disciples. He also didn’t give into them. He helped them understand their greater role as servants and redirected their attention to what was more important. He used the political opportunity for a greater Kingdom purpose.

Don’t be surprised at the politics in the church. In fact, expect it. There’s people involved. Don’t be led by politics. Find ways to redirect attention, refocus energies, and point people to the greater good.

Any politics in your church?

When you can’t encourage your team…

I was coaching a young pastor recently on building a healthy team. One question I asked was about his involvement with other staff members. Specifically, I asked if they felt encouraged in their roles on his staff. His response was revealing.

He said, “I think most of them feel encouraged, but honestly, I can’t think of anything for which to encourage some of them.”

Really? If that’s true we obviously have deeper problems.

Leader, if you can’t encourage someone on your team in what they’re doing…

I see at least three possibilities:

They are not a good fit for your team – Be honest. Some are and some are not. We can play games, do drama, hide the fact, but the truth remains. Not everyone has chemistry on a team. The longer you wait to address it the harder it will be.

There is a deficiency in your leadership – Whenever someone isn’t a fit on my team I always ask first if it’s me. Depending on the circumstances I’ll often ask them. Some will tell you and some won’t, but I need to know when the problem is me. That deficiency in me is probably impacting others without my knowledge.

There is something lacking in them or the organization that keeps them from finding their place – It could be training, adequate resources, or simply encouragement, but something is needed. You can fix this.

Everyone on a team should have value worth encouraging.


If not, find the reason why. Then act accordingly.

Have you ever led someone you struggled to find anything about them to encourage? What did you do?

5 Do’s and Don’ts to Gain Respect as a Leader

Want to be respected as a leader? It won’t come easily. It’s not freely given. Yet it’s not complicated either.

Here are 5 do’s…then 5 don’ts of gaining respect as a leader:


Don’t be someone you’re not

Don’t commit to more than you can do

Don’t suppress people

Don’t use people for personal gain

Don’t take out your pain on others.


Do be yourself

Do what you say you will do

Do empower people

Do help people achieve their goals

Do help others recover from their pain.

Add your own do’s or don’ts to be respected as a leader.

The Reason Many Policies are Written

Many policies are written because someone didn’t want to solve a problem.

In her book “Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands”, Nancy Ortberg talks about the need to differentiate between “a tension to be managed and a problem to be solved“. One example for me is the constant tension between the administration/money side of ministry and the discipleship/hands on side of ministry. As pastor, I’m always going to have to balance tension between our business administrator working to conserve cash and our youth pastor finding legitimate ministry needs in which to spend it, for example. That’s a tension to be managed, not a problem to be solved. On the other hand, an employee who is taking advantage of a more casual organizational structure, which I typically prefer…that’s a problem to be solved. Quickly. A system, which is not working, causing more harm than good to the organization…problem to be solved. Now.

Most of the time, however, in my experience, churches are notorious for creating a new policy to attempt to manage the problem rather than doing the difficult work of solving it. Solving the problem often involves getting personal with people. It involves challenging people. It involves change. It involves holding people accountable to a higher standard. That’s messy. It’s never fun. Most churches like neat, clean and seemingly easy. (Just being honest.)

Using my illustration above, if the youth pastor has a perceived spending problem, rather than addressing the problem with him directly, many times a policy is created to “solve” the problem and curtail spending. Every other staff member may be performing satisfactorily, but the policy controls everyone. Plus, without wise counsel, the youth pastor never learns principles of healthy budgeting or how to manage cash flow, for example, and it continues to impact his ministry for years to come. Problem not solved.

Policies are easy. They are a piece of paper. They may involve some discussion, perhaps a committee meeting (maybe even a tense committee meeting), maybe even a church vote, but they seldom specifically address the people who are causing the problem in the first place. They make people feel better about the problem, but they almost never solve real problems. In fact, they usually only create more problems…which later need to be solved!

For more of my thoughts on policies, see THIS POST. I realize this problem is not limited to churches. Even the best organizations and corporations struggle to address problems as needed.

My advice:

Manage the tensions, but solve the problems.

Do the hard work. It’s what leaders are supposed to do. Not always easiest. Always best.

Have you seen churches (or organizations) try to manage a problem that needed to be solved?

Bonus points if you give me an example.

Learn How to Preach at this One-Day Workshop

Conferences are great, but sometimes, the content can be overwhelming. That’s why Preaching Rocket has created a one-day workshop focused on just one ministry topic: Preaching.

Preaching is one of the most important ways to teach people to follow Jesus and help them understand God’s Word. Dr. Thom Rainer found that 90% of UNCHURCHED people choose a church because of the message; so good preaching is a great way to reach new people, too.

It’s one of the most important and visible things in a church, which is why you should make time to develop your skills.
Preaching Rocket is hosting a one-day workshop called Preach Better Sermons LIVE, featuring some of the nation’s top communicators – Andy Stanley, Pete Wilson, Jeff Henderson, Reggie Joiner, Pete Scazzaro, Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens and more. There are seven chances to attend.

Here are the dates and cities:

  • August 31 – Atlanta (Special Guest: Andy Stanley)
  • September 27 – Chicago (Special Guests: Jarrett and Jeannie Stevens)
  • October 18 – Nashville (Special Guest: Pete Wilson)
  • November 16 – Los Angeles (Special Guest: Reggie Joiner)
  • December 6 – New York (Special Guest: Pete Scazzero)
  • January 23 – Dallas (Special Guest: Reggie Joiner)
  • February 21 – Orlando (Special Guest: TBA)

The cost of the event is just $49 until June 15th; then the price increases. Every attender will get a copy of Andy Stanley’s newest book – Deep and Wide – and lunch from Chick-fil-a®.

Visit the event page and plan to register now for the lowest early registration price.

Just for today…

Just for today….


Forget what is behind and press on…

Not grow weary in doing good…

Consider others better than ourselves…

Love our enemy…

Pray continually…

Humble ourselves…

Forgive as we’ve been forgiven…

Let your light shine before men…

Cast our cares upon Him…

Lay up treasures in Heaven…

Judge not, lest you be judged…

Seek so we will find…

Tomorrow is a new day….

But for today…

What else should we do today?