An effective communicator will compile and create internal and external communication that compels members and others to become interested in participating in the church for the transformation of the world.
Spiritual Gifts and Qualifications Helpful for the Job
- A communicator benefits from having one or more of these spiritual gifts: exhortation (encouragement), knowledge, administration, and helping.
- This leader should show evidence of having a passion for communicating a clear message and skill with methods of communication—verbal, written, and electronic.
- Useful skills for this position are the ability to listen to and communicate with people of all ages, the ability to work with leaders of other ministry groups, expertise in the field of communication, comfortable in the use of social media, and interest in developing and sharing knowledge.
- This leader should show genuine interest in responding to the hopes and concerns of people in the community.
Responsibilities of the Position
- This leader will oversee the communications that go from the congregation to its members and to the community, including print and electronic newsletters and announcements, telephone contacts, a website, radio spots and programming, and broadcast journalism.
- The communicator will coordinate contacts between the congregation and community media. He or she will promote church-related events and opportunities.
- This leader will collaborate with the church leadership team and church staff to plan communication of issues, programs, ministry needs and successes, and stewardship stories.
- The communicator will develop and produce video resources for internal and external ministry and outreach.
- This leader will develop regular channels of communication with people responsible for district and conference communication, with United Methodist News Service, and other sources of church news.
- The communicator will lead the way in communications using new media technologies.
- This leader with link with organizations, people, and resources in and beyond the congregation that are concerned with religious broadcasting and communications.
- The leader is accountable to the charge conference through the church council.
- Assess the present communications program of your congregation.
- Talk with and learn from people in your congregation, in the community, and in other congregations who have interest and knowledge in communications.
- Learn about community groups, events, and programs to increase your knowledge of religious communications.
- Soon after you are elected, convene a group of interested people to help you plan. Share the ministry with others by delegating projects to people in the church or community who have passion.
- Develop a relationship with your annual conference communicator, so that you will have a partner in ministry at the annual conference level. This person can keep you informed about workshops and other learning opportunities.
People and Agencies That Can Help
- Your pastor and people in your congregation, the community, and other congregations who share your interest. Collect ideas to take back to your congregations.
- Your annual conference communications director.
- InfoServ, the information service for the church, provides current information about United Methodist resources, programs, and staff services. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: infoserv.umc.org.
- United Methodist Communications, the denomination’s official communications agency, offers a variety of tools, services, training, and resources that can help you. Email: email@example.com; Website: www.umcom.org.
Web and Print Resources
- The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016 (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2016)
- The Church Communications Handbook by Wanda Vassallo (Kregel Publishing, 1998; Available at www.cokesbury.com)
- Getting the Word Out: The Alban Guide to Church Communications by Frederick H. Gonnerman (Alban Institute, 2003; Available at www.amazon.com)
- Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Communications (Cokesbury, 2016)
- Healthy Disclosure: Solving Communication Quandaries in Congregations by Kibbie Simmons Ruth and Karen A. McClintock (Alban Institute, 2007; Available at www.amazon.com)
- Interpreter, www.interpretermagazine.org
- The Official United Methodist Program Calendar, http://umcom.org/services-products/um-program-calendar
- Reaching Out in a Networked World: Expressing Your Congregation's Heart and Soul by Lynne Baab (Alban Institute, 2008; Available at www.cokesbury.com)
- Religion Communicators Council, an interfaith association of religion communicators, www.religioncommunicators.org
- Speaking Faith: The Essential Handbook for Religious Communicators by Religious Communicators Council (available from the Religious Communicators Council)
- UMC.org, the official United Methodist website
- United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC), www.umcommunicators.org
- United Methodist Communications, www.umcom.org
- United Methodist News Feed, http://umns.umc.org
- United Methodist Reporter, unitedmethodistreporter.com (independent source for news features and commentary about The United Methodist Church)
- Web-Empowered Ministry: Connecting with People Through Websites, Social Media, and More by Mark Stephenson (Abingdon Press, 2011)
- We Must Speak: Rethinking Communications and Faith by Larry Hollon