Need Help Fighting Email Overload in Internal Church Communications?

by Bobby Gilles

in Church Communications

One well-designed toilet bowl ...

Flush multiple all-staff emails down the pipes ...

Email is a good thing. Email is a bad thing. Sometimes, the bigger your church staff gets, the more it can seem like a bad thing. Most of us who work on church staffs have spent entire days doing nothing but reading and answering emails.

Much of this is inevitable, and much of it depends on the personalities and church culture involved (for instance, I prefer email to phone calls).

But what about all those staff-wide emails that each ministry sends out, alerting everyone else on staff of things like:

  • Remember to turn in your updated insurance forms by Tuesday.
  • All hands on deck for baby dedications this Sunday. Help our Connect Team with crowd control.
  • On Tuesday, we’ll be painting in the children’s ministry wing so stay out.
  • Welcome _______ to the staff. She is our new Groups administrative assistant.

And on, and on, and on.

At Sojourn, we decided to do away with all the separate emails like the examples above. Now, as Director of Communications, I send one email a week each Wednesday. This email is a collection of need-to-know announcements from the various ministries and our central operations team. I also list the sermon text/topics for the next 6 weeks of our Sunday services, so all staff and interns can stay onboard with where we’re headed as a church.

Enter The Weekly Dump

For the first few months of this experiment, our Director of Administration Jenny Holzer sent out the weekly email. Jenny is on the central operations team, under our Executive Pastor Brian Howard. ┬áCentral Opps originally called this email “The Weekly Dump,” perhaps not realizing the toilet bowl connotation. After a couple weeks of heckling, they changed it to “The Weekly.”

Then we decidedthat sending this email is more of a “communications” issue than an “operations” issue. I agreed to take over The Weekly, on one condition: The headline would now and forevermore be The Weekly Dump. Hey, we all need some humor in the middle of our hectic work week, right?

And since most Sojourn staff can receive emails on mobile devices, it pleases me to think that they can take their Weekly Dump anywhere.

That’s the long and short of it, friends. If you’re overwhelmed by staff emails, think about how you can consolidate them. Give yourself a break from The Tyranny of Email (which, incidentally, is the title of a good book). Give yourself a weekly dump.

Toilet bowl photo by Alfred Diem, used via Creative Commons license

{ 1 comment }

Kristen Gilles February 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

You can’t get enough of your weekly dump, can you, honey?! ­čÖé

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