Anthony Coppedge, what is working for you?
Let me introduce you to a good friend of mine. Anthony has served on many different mega-church staffs, has worked in the secular A/V integration industry and now owns his own business. Anthony is a great man of integrity, and has a brilliant and creative mind. To learn more about Anthony visit: http://www.anthonycoppedge.com/ With no further ado, heres Anthony.
As a Church Media Consultant, I have the privilege of meeting with churches of nearly every size and quite a few denominations. There√is a lot of great ministry happening, to be sure, but I have observed that the very best churches have what I call a holistic approach for implementing media and communications into the fabric of their ministries.
Holistic -Emphasizing the organic or functional relation between parts and the whole.
These holistically-focused churches will standardize on computer hardware, operating systems, structured cabling, Wi-Fi, security systems, lighting instruments, video tape formats and even wireless microphones. They standardize because they want to have consistency in performance. Churches with a holistic approach also standardize in how they communicate with both externally and internally, between and amongst their various ministries, to ensure that a consistent brand and message is promoted to their members and community.
Let's face it, every ministry leader, even with the best of intentions, will naturally gravitate towards creating a ministry silo, if they are not careful.
Ministry Silos - Self-preserving structure of administration, information and communication disassociated with the overarching vision of the church.
On micro level, these ministry silos can look successful. However, the internal and external communications are largely unchecked or filtered by the vision and focus of the church. You can spot ministry silos because they have the tendency to lack the big-picture perspective and integration into the entirety of their church:
- The Youth Department develops, publishes and sends out a Youth Newsletter to the whole church database.Website ministry-specific updates are often handled exclusively by the IT/Media department or are largely ignored by individual ministries.
- Promotional videos are produced only when a church-wide activity, like VBS, brings the focus to a specific group such as the Children's ministry.
- Each ministry keeps track of their own volunteers but rarely check to ensure that the volunteers are not over committed to other ministries.
It's not uncommon to find that most ministry-silo churches have a Media Department or a Communications Department, usually staffed by a Worship Pastor and/or IT person who is pulling double-duty. It is the far more rare church that has a true Media & Communications Ministry. And even for churches that do, finding a full-time staff member at the executive/management level is the rarest of finds.
Yet without critical input from people who can help influence the perception of the church or perhaps more than any single ministry, many times unified vision of the church is diminished in the communication with each other and with their communities. The reason is simple: a Media & Communications Ministry outside of a Broadcast TV or Radio ministry is a new addition to our church lexicon.
The solution for a holistic approach is relatively simple: include those who know what it takes to produce the communications, whether it is print, web, video or broadcast into the creative planning meetings. For some churches, this is a staff position, while for others it can be a volunteer leader or even an outsourced firm. The point is to find out what is possible, what is probable and what is impractical before people become emotionally involved in a decision that, unbeknownst to them, has little chance of success.
A note of caution: The most technically savvy media person is usually not the person to lead the Media & Communications ministry. For most churches, this means you will most likely not promote the person who edits your videos or mixes audio for service to this leadership role (Peter Principle). It is better to have a creative leader with good project management abilities represent the Media & Communications in the executive/management team.
So here’s a filter for you to use when developing a holistic approach at your church: ask yourself if the communications content from each ministry accurately reflects and enhances the overall mission and vision of the church instead of simply promoting another ministry silo.
With the right person leading this important new ministry coupled with a strong vision from the church leadership, the holistic thinking and creative team planning can become the new norm in todays churches.