Tag: leadership

3 Lessons for the Church from Chick-fil-A

3 Lessons for the Church from Chick-fil-A

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

Have you ever noticed how there is always a line of cars wrapped around the Chick-fil-A drive-thru? It seems no matter the location or time of day, Chick-fil-A is always bustling with people eager for a chicken sandwich and waffle fries. Clearly, I’m not the only one who’s a fan. But I like Chick-fil-A for more than their tasty chicken. I believe many churches can benefit from taking a closer look at how Chick-fil-A has built a culture that communicates what they value.

Here are three lessons that any church can learn from Chick-fil-A.

1. Know What You Are About

The ‘Eat More Chicken’ tagline is effective because it’s simple, memorable and clearly says what Chick-fil-A is all about. They have always been about chicken and always will be about chicken, and they would like for you to eat more of their chicken. This idea is represented in every aspect of their marketing and advertising. While they might add new treats to the menu, they never deviate from who they are and what they do best.

Question for churches:

  • Is your mission statement simple and memorable?
  • Does your community know what you’re all about?
  • Is your mission clear in every part of your church?

2. Make Decisions that Reinforce Your Values

When other fast food restaurants are open 24/7, Chick-fil-A made the intentional choice to close on Sundays to allow employees time for rest, worship, and to be with their families. But they still generate more revenue than other chains open seven days a week with more locations.

In addition to a culture that values their employees, they also communicate their value of exceptional customer service with another simple yet memorable phrase: “My pleasure.” This oft-repeated response has been ingrained in their employee culture to the extent that consumers know to expect it.

With intentional words and actions, they communicate their family-friendly culture and a high regard for customer service.

Question for churches:

  • What words and phrases are uniquely part of your culture?
  • Are decisions based on what your church values?

3. Care for Your Guests

Personal story: I was in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru about to pay and could not find my credit card although it been in my hand moments before. I frantically dug through my purse but it was nowhere to be found. And, like any self-respecting millennial, I had no cash. I apologized profusely to the cashier and told him I would park until I could find it and pay.

His response? “No problem. It’s on us.”

Talk about valuing your customer. It was an awesome gesture and made me feel like they cared about providing a great experience for me, rather than wanting something from me. They will receive more of my business through that move than any marketing ever could. And I told people about it! (Side note: I eventually found the card in the dark vortex that is the gap between the seat and the cup holder.)

Question for churches:

  • How can you give your guests an experience where they feel so cared for that they would share that story with a friend?




Disclaimer: I am not paid for the endorsement of any product or company on my blog. I am just a satisfied customer who wants to share my experience.

The Tension Between Relationship and Rules

The Tension Between Relationship and Rules

 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” – Exodus 20:2

Context, context, context. My pastor always drives home the importance of context when preaching the Bible. You have to look at the context of a passage of Scripture to understand the meaning.

Keeping this in mind as I was reading through Exodus, it hit me how God delivers the 10 commandments (Exodus 20) after establishing His relationship with the Israelites (Exodus 19). He establishes His relationship with them before giving the commandments to them.

This is an applicable lesson for church communicators.

It’s important to establish a relationship with your pastors and team mates before you introduce rules and systems. Communication is relational. It requires trust. Trust is established through relationship. Not rules.

At the same time, guidelines and systems are vital for clear and effective communication. Without them, you end up communicating everything which translates to nothing. Your message will get lost in the clutter and noise.

There’s a tension between the relationship and rules. In my few years experience working in ministry, I’ve found that many pastors and leaders are highly relational and prefer to focus on that, rather than systems and structures.

As a communicator, it’s your job (and mine) to help balance this tension within your church. Provide the structure and the systems but do it in the context of relationship.

When leading church communications, remember to establish relationship and build trust before you implement rules.


How to Lead Design When You’re Not a Graphic Designer

I graduated with a degree in mass communication and marketing. But when I stepped into the role of Communications Director, I found myself faced with leading our church in graphic design and artwork.

If you’re in this position too, don’t worry. You can still lead design for your church without being a graphic designer.

Here are five lessons I’ve learned. I hope they are helpful to you!

1. Learn to identify good design and bad design.

Let’s be honest, there’s some really terrible design work out there. And unfortunately a lot of it is produced by churches. Learn to identify what makes the difference between a well-designed graphic and a poorly designed graphic. Take notes from churches that have a well-developed creative and design department. Check out Elevation Church and Mars Hill. Another great place to draw inspiration from is the Church Marketing Lab on Flickr.

Keep in mind: Be inspired by these designs, don’t just imitate them.

2. Take advantage of free resources.

Did you know that there are a ton of free resources available to you? These sites are gold mines and huge time savers. I’ve included a list of sites at the bottom of this post that should help you out.

3. Find an experienced volunteer.

The best resource for me has been volunteers. Find someone in your church who is passionate about your church’s mission and willing to serve by creating graphics and artwork that visually support that mission. These volunteers should have real-world experience and background in design. Ask to see a portfolio of their work. And, make sure to give them clear expectations and deadlines for projects upfront.

4. Learn the basics. 

I found online tutorials and articles to help me navigate the basics of Adobe Creative Suite. While I still don’t tackle major design projects, this gave me enough knowledge to create simple, basic graphics when I don’t have time to organize a volunteer.

5. Keep it simple.

The worst thing you can do is over complicate a design. Trust me, I’ve done it. It may seem boring, but always lean towards simple. Pick one or two fonts and stick with them. Brady Shearer over at Pro Church Tools has some good advice on this. If you have a solid design volunteer, have them create templates for your pre-service slides, web graphics, etc. and stick with those templates.


What do you think? How can you lead design for your church without being a designer?


Design Resources

Vintage Church Resources
Seeds – Church on the Move
Lightstock (non-cheesy stock photos, plus one free photo a week)
Unsplash (10 free hi-res photos every 10 days)


5 Leaders I’ve Learned From

5 Leaders I’ve Learned From

When I was an intern at my church, I read every book and blog I could find about church communication. I have a degree in mass communication and marketing, but that doesn’t mean that transferred into church communication. Today I want to take time to recognize leaders who shared their resources and knowledge to help people like me who were just getting started.

Here are five leaders I’ve learned from.

1. Tim Peters

Tim writes very practical articles about how to develop a communication strategy and simplify your communication systems. Plus, he recently came out with Sayge Resources if you’re looking for more church communication goodness. Website // Twitter 


2. Kem Meyer // Less Clutter Less Noise

Less Clutter Less Noise is an essential read if you want to learn about church communication. It reads like a collection of blog posts and you’ll fly through it. Kem’s kind of like the queen of church communication. Website // Twitter 


3. Phil Bowdle

My favorite thing about Phil is that he provides actual tools and shows you how to implement the ideas he shares.  Also, if you send him a question on Twitter, he’s always responsive and ready to share his knowledge with you. Website // Twitter


4. Brady Shearer // Pro Church Tools

Pro Church Tools has only been around about a year but Brady shares amazing tips and tricks for churches looking to master the basics of media. If you’re like me and not a designer but often faced with leading design for your church, you need to check it out. Website // Twitter 


5. Church Marketing Sucks

Yeah I know, this technically isn’t one leader but it’s my post so I can break the rules. Church Marketing Sucks is the mac daddy of articles for everything from promotions and marketing to design and websites for the church. Website // Twitter


So there you have it! Leaders that I have learned from. Now, this isn’t an inclusive list. There’s no way I could list all the leaders I’ve learned from but these are a few who made a big impact on me.

What about you? Which church communication leader have you learned from?