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Shout the Good News

32 simple public relations moves that'll make your ministry shine.

Why are there more than 122,000 public relations specialists in America? Because bad news travels fast and lingers longer, while good news is rarely heard above the din of bad news.
Politicians and corporate presidents understand that it's critical for their image-building to shout good news year-round. In the same way, good public relations is your key to helping people inside and outside your church understand your ministry's vision and strengths. What you do internally to create a positive image for your children's ministry can make or break your children's ministry, in good and especially bad times.

Like it or not, you have a public that demands you feed it good news. Your public, of course, starts with children, parents, and teachers, then extends to your church staff, congregation, and community.

The following are 32 practical internal public relations strategies that are as simple as they are effective.

1. Publish your good news. Sometimes people don't know what to think about your ministry because you don't tell them. There's nothing like the printed word to establish an impression of your progress. Don't forget that newsletters can be emailed as well as mailed. And they can be handed out after class or put in your bulletin, too.

2. Deliver more than you promise. It helps to publicize events, but make sure your results speak louder than your hype.

3. Celebrate every success. Did you tell anyone and everyone about the stories that brought tears to your eyes at the mother-daughter retreat? Go ahead and make them tear up, too!

4. Share your stories with "megaphone members." There's always someone in your church who's the first to know everything. Rather than hide news from these amplified voices, take them to breakfast once a month to fill them in on your secret successes. They'll love the insider information, and you'll find that your stories will become legend as they're repeated throughout your church.

5. Attend the right meetings. Do you attend your church's board meetings or staff meetings? Make sure you're present when your ministry is evaluated and your goals are set or assessed. Remember, don't wait to react to questions; be proactive and share positive successes.

6. Make the good better. Yesterday's fully staffed nursery can quickly become tomorrow's no-show Sunday if you're spending your time putting out fires rather than nurturing success. I love what Peter Drucker has stated for any newcomer to ministry: "Do what needs to be done first, then do what you want to do." You must fix problems before you set goals.

7. Change the wattage of your light bulbs. Making your ministry brighter can be as simple as changing light bulbs. Use fluorescent bulbs wherever you can since they distribute light evenly.

8. Change a stinky diaper in the nursery. Once, when I walked into a nursery to encourage the volunteers, I noticed something terribly wrong. One of the toddlers needed to be changed in a hurry. By picking up that child and spending the time to change the diaper, I unwittingly became a legend among the nursery staff. They knew instantly that I appreciated what they did and I understood how hard it was to do it.

9. Create PowerPoint presentations for your board, staff, or church. If you don't know how to use PowerPoint, enlist those who can to create a compelling media display that correlates with your vision.

10. Put your message in many mouths. For you to stand at the pulpit and make the announcement that the 2-year-old department needs volunteers creates a glaze across the audience that rivals anything Krispy Kreme doughnuts could create. Instead, have one of your nursery volunteers share a story of how his or her life has been enriched because of spending time with a young child.

11. Win your critics. In fact, take your biggest critic to Starbucks and ask for advice. For extra credit, bring a notepad and take notes.

12. Let your light shine. Stand in your church lobby at the conclusion of each service to smile and say goodbye to people. Greet everyone by his or her first name.

13. Be there for people. Attend every funeral at your church. Greet the family, and don't sit in the back.

14. Don't play hooky. Attend at least one church service each Sunday. It'll do your heart good, too. Attend with your family and sit together. For extra credit, sit together toward the front.

15. Cover the basics. Fill out a regular attendee card and put it in the offering plate. It's amazing to me that even the office staff loves you if you aren't above the tasks you ask others to do.

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