As you sit at home – or in your office – reading this story, your church continues to communicate many messages to your community.

Right now, someone is reading your church sign while driving by your church. Another person is studying your small ad in the Yellow Pages. A young couple is checking out your church website. Neighbors are watching your church van drive down the main road in your town. A newcomer to the area is listening to your church answering machine message, after business hours, to find out about the times of services.

If you don't present one clear and inviting message for your church through every touch-point, then a single weak communication can counter all of the strong church promotion you are working so hard to build.

When was the last time you took a close look at your key communications touch-points?

Your church sign messages should be warm and inviting. Use your sign to encourage people to worship with you, and tell them the times of your services.

Your Yellow Pages ad should be simple and accurate. Have your hours of worship changed since you created this ad nine or 10 months ago? Has the church phone number recently changed, too? Is your church website address in your Yellow Pages ad?

Is your website easy to read and navigate? Will that young couple looking on the web for a church home find all they need to feel safe and secure in bringing their infant and preschooler to your church?

Your church name is most likely painted in large letters on the sides and back of your church van or bus. If your church van is flying down the road, it isn't going to attract families to your church. It just might turn them away. Do you regularly remind every driver that he or she is representing your church in the community?

Does your answering machine message invite callers to join you in worship on Sunday? Does it give the times of services for that area newcomer who calls late on Saturday night? How about directions to the church?

What if someone calls on Sunday morning? The answering machine is not your best option. If at all possible, have someone attending your church answer the phone on Sunday morning. Your designated phone "welcomer" can address any questions, give simple driving directions to the church, and maybe even greet the guests they speak to when they arrive at the door.

Because you don't know how – or when – someone will want information on your church, you can't afford to let any one message touch-point miss the mark and hinder the ministries of your church.

Perhaps the best Scripture reference for stressing the importance of effective church communications is Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Jesus was speaking to His disciples, but His message also applies to the ways we communicate to others about our church. Let the light of your church shine brightly before men.

Woody Murray is an independent church communications specialist who helps churches more effectively reach their communities. He has worked for thirty years in communications and marketing in advertising agencies and at a major Christian organization. If you have a church communications question for Woody, email him at rwoodymurray@comcast.net or call him at 615-646-5725.

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