Little Guys Can Do Big Things

I go to an Episcopal church. We have liturgy. Our pews aren't padded. We don't do PowerPoint. We don't have a visitor's welcome center. Our website? Kinda lame. Our communications budget? A single line item for a phone book ad, which we cut. A communications committee has started and failed multiple times in the last five years.

We're what you call a normal church. One of the little guys.

I say that so you understand I'm not from one of these cutting edge churches with communications directors and flat panel TVs and sermon graphics. We've got an admin assistant, and Janice puts together a mean newsletter.

So understand where I'm coming from when I say this: There's hope for the little guy.

The people in this book talk a big talk. And many of them walk the walk. But for us little guys, it's a little overwhelming. They're debating microsites and we're still high-fiving that we even have a website.

But don't let that scare you away. Don't let that intimidate you.

The truth is you're already communicating. Don't let the fact that you're little stop you from making it better.

Here are some ways the little guy can step it up:

Make a Plan

Every time my church starts a new communications effort, whether it's a new website or a new logo, it gets mired down and mucked up. Why? Because we have no plan. Before you talk designs or even methods, start with the basics. Who are you? Why are you communicating? What are you going to say? Who does the work?

Baby Steps

We little guys are no megachurch. We're not ready to tweet and blog and podcast. So start small. Make one steady, consistent, maintainable improvement at a time. Baby steps to the website. Baby steps to bulletins without typos. Baby steps to ditching clipart. Good communication is like a light guiding you in the darkness: It can't flare up and fade out, it has to burn slow and steady through the night.

Find a Champion

What we little guys really lack is dedicated people power. We have no staff. Janice is a rock star of an admin assistant, but her job description is six pages long. She makes the church run, she doesn't have time to moonlight as a communications director. So find champions. For each new project, find a champion who will love it, run with it and win. Show them the plan, give them some direction and empower them to make their own decisions (and their own mistakes).

Do Something

The biggest killer of progress is a lack of progress. If you don't get anywhere you'll discourage and dishearten your volunteers and you'll be starting over again. Adopt the mindset of a startup and do it quick and cheap. Make it better as you go, but make sure you're going. Don't wait for perfection.

Ignore the Dissent

We little guys invented "that's how we've always done it." Change is scary (try suggesting PowerPoint). So as your champion is getting something done with baby steps all according to plan, it's inevitable that someone will cry out "Facebook is the devil!" And now it's time to let the dissenters down easy. Change is a comin' and this little guy may be little, but he's going to communicate well. Don't let dissent grind you down.

So remember the story of Junior Asparagus in the VeggieTales version of David and Goliath: "He's big! But God's bigger! ... With his help little guys can do big things too!"

We may be small, but we're not out.

We may not be rock stars, but we can still sing.

We may be little guys, but we've got the same grand story. And we can tell it well.

An excerpt from Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication, a collaborative book created by the Center for Church Communication, which brings together some of the leading voices from around the globe on how churches are leveraging new media.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."


Displaying 1–6 of 6 comments

Mary, Admin Asst

May 28, 2012  2:34pm

What makes the difference for me in our "little guy" church is that as our Pastor has had a "Father" spirit, growing up sons in the faith who learn Who Christ is in them and who they are in Him, we have matured together in the faith and are beginning to explode outward, not necessarily bringing people into the church building, but ministering to them one-on-one outside the church. I believe that is what the Body of Christ is being challenged to do now. We are seeing numerical growth also, but the pillars of the church, its people, see growth and the power of God as for them and flowing through them. Thank God for "little churches" with pastors and leaders like this!

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May 24, 2012  10:25pm

I use this method to accomplish things in my life also!

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May 15, 2012  1:54pm

This is a good article

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May 05, 2012  1:52am

I recently travelled from my home in Western Australia to the UK. While there I had the privilege of visiting two churches - a well-known megachurch and a "little guy" whose entire congregation would not have made up the "welcominging" team in the megachurch. At home, I am a member of a big church that I love. I am under the cover of leadership, I serve, I contribute, it's where God has put me. But these two churches were sooo similar! In both, only two people said hello to me. In the case of the "little guy" it was the pastor. Don't get me wrong, both churches were spirit filled and focused on God. Welcome and look after a visitor like me an honoured guest in your home I'll come back and I'll bring my friends! After all, the LORD's in the numbers game, right? He wants as many of His kids as possible around Him when it's all over - and isn't that our (the churches') main job?

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Michelle Dowell

May 04, 2012  10:36am

Pastor Kelly, That's so true. I like how you summarized it in memorable words. Michelle Dowell, Editorial Coordinator

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Pastor M. D. Kelly

May 02, 2012  5:31am

It's not the size of the guy in the fight! It's the size of the fight in the guy! It's not the size of the assembly proclaiming the TRUTH. It's the "size" of the TRUTH the assembly proclaims!

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