The Ultimate Guide to Church Communication & Marketing Job Descriptions

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Hiring someone to effectively leverage digital communication, social media, and mobile technology is new territory for many churches, despite the increasing prevalence of these tools in people’s lives. COVID-19 pushed many churches to use new online platforms for communication and worship. As churches continue to look forward, it is clear these online platforms will continue to be necessary both online and offline. 

As we assimilate our congregations and visitors from online to offline and back again on a weekly basis, the Communications Director role is no longer a “nice to have” role on your church staff. It is a “must have” role as you intentionally navigate how to engage with your community across all channels – from the iPhone to the parking lot to the pew. 

The necessity of communicating regular updates amidst change and a new understanding for the importance of aligning the online and offline church experience has given many churches a desire to create and fill a communication role on their team. So, while church leaders usually know what they want out of a worship director or a youth pastor, the world of communication is, ironically and unfortunately, less clearly defined, especially as we build our teams for a post-COVID-19 world.  

We’ve teamed up with Church Marketing University to create this guide to help you navigate the landscape of church communication teams and the varying roles, responsibilities, and job descriptions within them. 

This guide will help you answer the following questions:

  • Is it necessary to hire a communications, marketing, or creative professional for your church? 
  • What skills and experience are essential to the position you’re hoping to fill?
  • How do you write a job description that will attract your ideal candidate?
  • How do you find the right person for the role?

Church communicators go by a lot of different titles.  For the sake of simplicity, throughout most of this guide we’re focusing on the process of hiring someone who will lead your church’s marketing and communication efforts, and referring to them as the “Communications Director.”  If you’re interested in hiring a creative professional, such as a photographer, graphic designer, or videographer, the section on “Alternative or Supplementary Positions” will give you a more in-depth look at those roles.

Like what  you’re reading and want more information? Download our full, free eBook packed with sample job descriptions and templates here.

Why Hire a Communications Director?

You might already be convinced that you need a communications director for your church. However, if you don’t know why you want to hire someone for this role, you won’t know what to emphasize when writing your job description. You’re also likely to encounter strong opposition from board members, leadership, or other church members if you can’t articulate why this particular hire is necessary.

A Communication Director establishes a strategy and communication plan that is essential for the growth, health, and development of the church. The role of a Communications Director is not just marketing, it is strategic planning and leadership. Their role is to ensure that in every facet of the church, the overall vision of the church is being communicated. Everything your church says or does is communication, so it is important that everything within the church communicates and aligns with your vision.

Take a minute to ask yourself, “How would a communications director help my church achieve our mission and vision?”  As a starting point, pick your top 3-5 reasons.  To help compile your list, we’ve provided some possible reasons why your church might need a communications director. Feel free to let us know if we’ve forgotten something- we love hearing your suggestions!

Reasons Churches Might Hire a Communications Director:

  1. To standardize messaging across all platforms: online, print, and in person.
  2. To bridge the online to offline gap between all ministry initiatives. 
  3. To create branding and style guidelines & create messages in keeping with them.
  4. To create campaigns to attract more people to services and events.
  5. To create and implement a system for following up with first-time guests.
  6. To consistently update and monitor the church’s website and/or social media accounts.
  7. To inform people in the community about services the church offers.
  8. To keep church members informed of official business, including services, meetings, building or staff changes, and outreach initiatives.
  9. To establish communication plans for sensitive issues like crisis communications, staff changes, or deaths. 
  10. To help the church see and celebrate the work God is doing.
  11. To provide people with points of connection to the church throughout the week.
  12. To make it easy for people to get the help and support they need from the pastoral staff or church body as a whole.
  13. To spur the people of God to good works by rallying volunteers for church-led ministry initiatives.
  14. To educate pastoral staff members on communication or marketing issues and processes related to their church.
  15. To lead and develop teams of creatives and marketers. 
  16. To study the audiences the church is trying to reach, and use that knowledge to recommend and implement outreach strategies.
  17. To be the person who is always asking, “How can we make this experience better for someone who has never been to church?” 

Now that you’ve thought through your reasons for hiring, let’s look a little closer at what a church communications director actually does.

What is a Communications Director?

While specific titles and responsibilities vary based on the church’s needs and culture, a communications director is essentially a clearinghouse for the church’s information that needs to be communicated to the masses. In communication terms, we divide the masses into internal audiences and external audiences Internal audiences are people within your church, whose attention you already have, and external audiences refer to those outside your church, whose attention you would like to attract.  A good communications director will understand how to speak effectively to both, cross-generationally and across multiple communication channels. They’ll do this by conducting research on the ways your various audiences communicate and effectively leveraging digital media, email, texting, newsletters, and other forms of communication.

Communications directors are often hired to make sure the church’s communications remain effective and organized as the church grows, as well as ensuring the messages being sent to external audiences match those being sent internally. This means they must be a high capacity leader of people and teams. Some churches put more of an emphasis on hiring a communications director that is good with technology or graphic design, but strategy and leadership should be the most important characteristic of a communications director. Hire someone who can develop people, teams, and systems even if they have zero clue about Photoshop, photography, video editing, etc.



Communications Director Job Description Basics 

Now that we’ve given you an overview of what a communications director does, let’s dive into the details. We’ll start by discussing the role of the job description, then help you figure out what skills you’re looking for in a Communications Director. 

Purpose of Job Description:

The job description is only the beginning of finding the right person to join your team as a Communications Director. When you’re making a new hire, a job description serves two important functions.  At first, it’s used to market the position, enticing potential candidates to apply for the job.  Once they’re hired, the job description is a useful reference document that communicates what’s expected of them, where their responsibilities lie, and who supervises them.  So, if you get your job description right, you’re more likely to attract the right candidates and your new hire will know what you expect of them.

Elements to Include in Job Description:

In this section, we’ll discuss the elements that should be present in your job description.  Here’s a checklist to make sure you’ve included everything:

  • Your church’s location, and whether or not working from home or remote work would be possible.
  • The number of hours you expect the applicant to work (a range is fine)
  • Information concerning your reporting structure and this position’s place in your organization.
  • A list of specific responsibilities associated with the role
  • An “about you” section that tells the story of the organization
  • A list of the candidate’s desired skills and qualifications
  • A title for the position
  • Special instructions for applying if applicable

Hours, Wages, and Benefits for Communications Director

Before you begin the hiring process, it’s important to establish a realistic salary range for the Communications Director.  

If you’re wondering what you should expect to pay a full-time employee, salaries for a church communications director vary greatly. Contact our team to receive a customized range of what you should expect to pay your Communications Director. 

Your location, your church’s size (attendance and/or budget), the role’s scope of responsibility, and your candidate’s experience will impact how much you offer. 

Speaking of perks, benefits are an important part of a candidate’s consideration of job opportunities. Be prepared to share the benefits you plan to offer, such as paid time off, retirement benefits or accounts, education assistance or insurances.  

Additionally, be sure to emphasize the intangible benefits of working at your church.  Churches are better equipped than many companies to offer perks like flexible scheduling, a friendly and relaxed office atmosphere, spiritual development and mentorship, and the assurance that employees are doing work that matters – for eternity. What are the unique characteristics that describe your church’s culture? Cast vision for why your church is a great place to work because of the impact you’re making for the Kingdom.   

For further guidance and customized data on cost of living in your area, ask Vanderbloemen for help.

Church Communication Director Reporting Structure

It’s helpful for potential candidates to know the reporting structure of their position.  Will they be heading up a church communications department that reports to your executive or senior pastor?  Will they be part of the creative arts team and report to your Worship Pastor or Creative Director?  Depending on their skills and past experiences, the way your church plans to structure the position could impact which candidates choose to apply. Include this information in your job description to show where this person sits on the organizational chart. 

Communications Director’s Specific Responsibilities

A vital part of bringing on a new hire is to effectively communicate their roles and responsibilities. Many churches struggle to effectively communicate the scope of responsibility of the Communications Director role. It shouldn’t just be someone that runs your social media or “makes things look pretty.” Your Communications Director should be a leadership role that aligns your organization around vision through effective communication. 

While you can’t foresee everything- and you should be hiring someone who is enough of a self-starter to work beyond the tasks enumerated in the job description- include a description of a communication director’s responsibilities. When compiling your list, here are some specific responsibilities you might include and explain, based on your church’s needs:

Budgeting

Planning and reporting the communication department’s expenditures for the year is an essential function of any Communication Director’s job. 

Brand Creation and Management

The Communications Director should make sure the church’s communications are in keeping with the church’s branding and style guide.  This might mean they have to make a branding and style guide for your church or update your current one.

Copywriting 

Anything written to convince people to come to an event, use a service that the church offers, or volunteer can be considered copywriting, whether the audience is internal or external.  Here are some examples of how copywriting comes into play:

  • bulletins
  • fliers
  • the church’s website 
  • social media posts 
  • blog posts 
  • an email or print newsletter
  • welcome/thank you letters sent on church letterhead. 

Have a plan for what you expect your communications director to directly contribute.  If you already have administrators, volunteers, or a staff copywriter performing some (or all) of these tasks, note that they’ll be required to share information, collaborate, or edit the work of others.

Creative Direction

Every church is unique. Some churches have a Creative Director of Creative Pastor on staff that is separate from a Communication Director. Others combine the role into one person or team. There’s no right or wrong, but clarity is critical for an aligned team. 

If creative direction is a component of your communications team, then you might include responsibilities to oversee photography, videography, and graphic design. 

Photography or Photo Editing

A photographer shoots, selects, edits, and renames photos for promotional usage online and in print.   

Videography

A videographer shoots, edits, and directs video production, creating a product that resonates with online audiences.  Keep in mind that videography is a highly collaborative process, so it’s important that your hire is willing to train and eventually oversee other videographers.

Graphic Design

Graphic Design involves creating images using graphic design software (such as Adobe Illustrator or Canva) for promotional use by the church.  This might include:

  • designing a logo for your church
  • creating images for promoting a sermon series
  • designing images for social media in keeping with your church’s branding
  • planning signage for your church
  • designing mailers and flyers to promote events

Research

If your church doesn’t know which communications efforts are and aren’t working, your communications director should get a system in place for that.  If you are getting feedback, they should keep tabs on it in order to make data-driven decisions.

Digital and Social Media Management

Includes both posting and responding to messages and comments on your church’s social media profiles.

Team Leading

This involves hiring and managing staff and freelancers as needed, recruiting, training, and overseeing volunteers, and encouraging the people who help them reach their goals in the church’s marketing & creative efforts. This is perhaps the most important component of any role in ministry, but especially in communications as this role propels the mission of the church forward. 

Website Management

Involves keeping the website up-to-date, acting based on user feedback to improve the experience for new users and striving to improve your church’s SEO.  These solutions will look different for every church, but they may include:

  • rearranging tabs
  • creating new web pages
  • collaborating with staff to create or repurpose content for the site
  • redesigning the entire site (with the help of others)
  • using SEO tools to improve ranking.

Click here to download our full, free eBook including sample job descriptions and a template to get you started planning for your communications team.

Communication Director’s Specific Characteristics

Many job descriptions start or end by depicting, in general terms, the type of person you hope to hire.  We strongly encourage including this section if you’re hiring someone who is unknown to you.  It’s a great way to communicate the type of person you envision in this role, and it demonstrates to potential candidates that your church might be a great place to work.  After all, everyone wants to be understood and valued.

Writing this section starts by looking beyond skills and qualifications and deciding what type of person you’re looking to add to your team.  While each church has unique hiring needs, here are some across-the-board traits you may want to include:

Christian Character.  This means they:

  • Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Are committed to the local church
  • Are passionate about sharing the gospel 

Depending on your church’s needs and culture, you might also describe them as:

  • Agreeing with your church’s statement of beliefs
  • A member of your church or denomination
  • Having ministry credentials or seminary training

Strategic Thinking.  This means they are: 

  • Constantly making data-driven decisions about how to spend time and resources
  • Willing to look at your existing systems and determine what needs to be changed.
  • Able to develop plans and implement changes in ways that stick.

Caring Leadership.  This means they are:

  • Excited by building into people’s lives
  • Looking for opportunities to lead teams of volunteers, staff, or freelancers who will carry out the work of the communications department.

Self-Starting.  This means they are:

  • Constantly making sure they’re communicating effectively for your church- whether that comes from reading, training, research, or receiving critical feedback with grace.
  • Generating new ideas without the prompting of leadership.
  • Effectively following through without heavy oversight. 

Creativity and Openness to Ideas.  This means they are:

  • Always coming up with new ideas.
  • Able to take a limitation and view it as an opportunity.
  • A firm believer that things shouldn’t be completely broken before they’re fixed.
  • Open to suggestions from your creative team, volunteers, and leadership.

Excellent Communication Skills.  This means they are:

  • Able to comprehend and express your church’s heart in an authentic manner.
  • Plugged in to the culture of your church.
  • Listening and asking questions of leadership, attendees, and your community at large.

The ability to communicate well is just one aspect of Emotional Intelligence, what we at Vanderbloemen call, “the best indicator of a successful hire.”  Emotionally intelligent candidates are transparent, focused, self-aware, and empathetic.  Check out this blog post for an explanation of those traits and how to screen for them in an interview.

Communication Director’s Skills & Qualifications

While the section above describes the type of person you’d like to hire, this section enumerates the skills and qualifications they’ll need in order to do their job well at your church.  As a result,  it’s highly dependent upon your church’s needs, which is what our team at Vanderbloemen specializes in helping you discover when hiring a new team member.  Here are some things to consider: 

  • Education: Do you want someone with a college degree?  Seminary training?  Or could a currently-enrolled college student or intern perform this work to your satisfaction?
  • Experience:  How many years experience does your ideal candidate have in the communications field?  This is usually expressed in a “minimum years of experience” or a range.
  • Technical Expertise:  What software or platforms do they need to be able to use, in order to accomplish your church’s goals?
  • Training.  Are you willing and available to spend significant time training someone to develop these skills? Do you have access to resources like Church Marketing University that can help them fill in the gaps in their skill set?  Or do you need to hire someone who already has all the necessary skills and qualifications? 

Determining the Job Title for a Communication Director

It might seem counterintuitive that the last step to writing your job description is to create the title.  However, you’ll have the best idea of which title will fit after you’ve figured out exactly what that role will entail.  Now that you’ve worked through those issues, here are some additional factors to keep in mind:

  • Your Organizational Culture.  Is your church tightly organized, with everyone performing within their scope of ministry?  Or are roles more fluid?  For example, if you’re looking for someone who will handle your church’s communications and occasionally preach from the pulpit when the senior pastor is on vacation, create a title that specifies you’re looking for a pastor.
  • Titles of Current Staff.  Ideally, the title will match your current staff titles. A title like “Director of Marketing and Communications” might be perfect if your church uses businesslike titles for everyone, but it could sound too corporate if you don’t.
  • Reporting Structure.  If your church’s management is highly structured, make sure the title you’re creating for this role matches the titles of people at a similar level in other ministry departments.

If you’re a smaller team, and you’re looking for someone to take all of the church’s communications off your administrator’s and/or pastor’s plates, we recommend the short and sweet title of “Communications Director.”  In some cases, however, a Communications Director will be more than your church needs- or you’ll need to hire additional staff to help your Communications Director as your church grows.  In the next section, we’ll explore other hires your church might need to make.

Click here to download our full, free eBook including sample job descriptions and a template to get you started.

Alternative or Supplementary Positions to a Communication Director

Not every church is looking for someone who does it all.  In many cases, internal communications (things like sending church-wide emails and creating bulletins) are handled by skillful administrative staff.  Or, if your church already has a communications director, you may need to hire a creative professional or an administrator to help them in a specific area.  In either case, this list of alternative/supplementary positions should come in handy as you write the job description for your next hire.  

As you’re reading this section, don’t forget the bonus example job descriptions from Church Marketing University. The example descriptions cover all the positions discussed here, as well as other roles.

Creative Director

According to Workable, “Creative directors are responsible for developing the look, feel, and tone of a company’s brand and executing it beautifully and consistently across all available channels.”  If your church is getting started with digital marketing, it’s likely your creative director will do a lot of writing, designing, capturing, and posting for your church.  Long-term, however, the goal should be to utilize volunteers or additional staff people- so hire someone with strong leadership skills.   

Social Media Coordinator, Social Media Manager, or Media Coordinator:

A social media coordinator creates consistent, branded posts across your church’s social media accounts.  Typically, someone in this role would report to whoever is doing the bulk of the communications for your church- a communications director, creative director, or administrator.  It’s essential that you clearly communicate who is responsible for checking their progress, assigning goals and tasks, and answering their questions. 

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Website Designer and/or Website Developer:

Web designers tend to focus (not surprisingly) on the design elements of the site, or making it cohesive and pretty.  Web developers, on the other hand, are focused on the site’s functionality and in developing code that will give you the features you want.  The line between these two roles is somewhat blurred, since it’s possible to find people with expertise in both web design and development.     

Graphic Designer:

Graphic designers are essentially digital artists with an eye for branding and marketing.  A good one will listen to your needs and design something that communicates your message in a way that meshes with your church’s brand. 

Photographer:

Unless you’re a time traveler from before the 1880s, you already know what a photographer does.  What you might not know is how a photographer can help your church get its marketing efforts up and running.  Church Marketing University talks about this topic in detail in the Photography Course, because we’re convinced that photography is the secret weapon behind effective church marketing.  

Videographer:

Videographers shoot and edit videos, which are a great tool to show people what your church is like and welcome them to join you for a service. Your church might need a videographer to create a welcome video, film testimonial videos, and create engaging social media content. 

Finding Your Next Communication Hire

Now that you’ve written your job description, one question remains:  How do you find the right person for the right role on your communication team?

As William Vanderbloemen, our founder and CEO says, “In the digital age, our world has never been noisier, which means it is harder than ever to cut through the noise to find the right person.” This is especially true in a post-COVID-19 world where this role is more critical than ever before for churches. 

Our Vanderbloemen team would be honored to help you find the right hire to lead your communication team. Contact our team to learn more about how we can partner with you to find whom God is calling to your church. 

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