United Methodists are gonna methodize. That's what we do. In fact, MyCom just published an article called Computer hacks: 7 amazing methods for United Methodists to help church leaders save time using different computer systems. But no matter how much we optimize processes, we can always do better. For example, pastors have incredible love for people, but they don't always have the most efficient pastoral-care systems. One reason may be that seminaries do not teach project management as a part of their curriculum. Yet, running a church is often very much like operating a business and it's incredibly helpful for church leaders to know different systems of organization, strategy and time-saving techniques.
Maybe seminaries should require a few business courses. Creating a strategic church marketing plan could be one of the final projects. However you don't need a minor in business management to run your church. You can learn everything you need to know for free on the internet. If you don't have time to scour the web, the new MyCom Church Marketing Podcast can point you in the right direction. Listen and learn while you're on the go.
Here are some of the most efficient systems for taking care of people and amplifying the church's voice.
1. Redundancy in pastoral care
Engineers create "redundancy" by duplicating systems to increase reliability and provide backups in case of failure. The church can replicate this by appointing a few trusted individuals to create a shared database (i.e. Google Drive) to gather pastoral-care needs from many sources. Pastors and care leaders can all access this information to avoid overlooking people in need.
If you don't like computers, then create a good ol' fashioned buddy system to bolster pastoral care. Many people don't have friends or family members who notice when they don't attend church. Consider assigning three households in the church to be aware of each other. If one or even two households are missing, the others call to find out if they just took a week off or if they need help. Be sure it's an opt-in program to participate because some people aren't as reliable when they're simply assigned certain tasks.
2. Virtual teams
Remember when team members had to be physically together in one building? The internet changed everything. Collaborators and companies all over the world fundamentally shifted the ways they work and thrive as they span distance and time. Learn how virtual teams can optimize your church systems and then dive into all the tools for managing virtual teams. Of course, some meetings still need to be in person, but virtual teams allow flexibility and time/money-saving opportunities.
3. Social media teams
For many churches, social media is a great tool for outreach, but managing it is a big job. If your church cannot afford a part-time social media manager, consider creating a volunteer team. You will need to recruit volunteers – and be sure the members have the skills and experience needed. They should also know how much time to spend on social media and commit to it. Learn all the steps for creating a social media dream team and start delegating tasks so you can focus on other important duties.
4. Editorial calendars
Your marketing plan includes emails, blogs, tweets, newsletters, church bulletins, website updates — and probably much more. Editorial calendars help set efficient production schedules and give your team plenty of time to write content. You shouldn't fret when someone gets sick and can't meet a deadline, so alleviate stress with editorial calendars.
5. Efficient meetings
The following scenarios can bog down committee work:
- meetings are not well attended
- one individual dominates activities and decisions
- the same topic is discussed repeatedly.
The challenges continue. Learn how to run highly effective church staff meetings so people do not leave confused and aimless.
6. Church marketing plan
Every method and technique discussed above will fuel your church marketing plan. This plan will help you find your church's unique calling, support your community's unique needs and amplify your church's story to the ends of the earth. United Methodist Communications has an excellent church marketing plan tool to make this task easier for church leaders to complete.
You also can take our online training course, Church Marketing: How to Effectively Reach Your Community. This course guides you through each step of building a marketing plan and is designed specifically for United Methodist churches.
By the end of this course, you will learn the steps to:
- Plan and build a marketing plan
- Launch a successful marketing strategy
- Identify the importance of a consistent brand
- Develop a custom plan geared at reaching the people in your community
You will have access to the online course for six months and a course moderator will assist with answering questions. Gain access to other resources to help market and brand your church and finish with something tangible to help strategically and efficiently guide your church forward.
7. Review and discuss the following church systems
One of the blogs I follow, "Communicate Jesus," has an excellent article called 25 Church Systems and Processes to Review and Discuss. It was the inspiration for this piece, so check it out, think through every system and start methodizing.