The Church’s Failure to Communicate

by | Community Blog | 0 comments

My all-time favorite movie is Cool Hand Luke. In the 1967 film, Paul Newman was the embodiment of cool. It’s all about one man’s futile struggle against authority, including God’s.

Cool Hand Luke gives us one of the greatest movie lines ever spoken: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

I can’t help but notice that the quote neatly sums up the current state of church communications: a failure to communicate.

The Problem

For whatever reason, churches do a poor job of communicating. We rely on outdated platforms. We bombard an already overwhelmed audience with a barrage of meaningless messages. We lose sight of the real purpose we are trying to accomplish.

To put it another way: church marketing sucks.

The story of Christ’s redeeming love gets lost in the shuffle among the announcements for bake sales and Vacation Bible school and Wednesday Night Dinner. The weekly bulletin becomes somehow a higher priority than caring for others.

The Solutions

So, what do we do about this lack of effective communication? How can we fix this failure to communicate? Here are a few steps towards better church marketing.

Admit The Failure

Before we can improve, we have to acknowledge where we are. Too many churches are complacent with mediocrity. Too many churches settle with OK just because they’re a church. Rather than an excuse, that should be a motivating factor to do better.

Ask For Help

When we recognize our communications shortcomings, the church can finally seek help. Know where you’re lacking. Research where you can get assistance in those areas. There are too many resources out there to try and do it poorly by yourself.

Invest in Resources

Free is a wonderful thing. It’s also a shortcoming of the church. We expect to get everything for free. Sometimes we get what we pay for. We cannot expect excellence without any cost. Invest the time and money into making your communications better.

Pursue Excellence

The message of the church is too important to be communicated poorly. The business world has far surpassed the Christian community in how they communicate. The church needs to learn from secular examples if we’re going to have a relevant voice in this culture. And this is possible to do without sacrificing our moral example—it will just take hard work.

Good Communication is Possible

Good communication in the church is possible. Jesus was a great communicator. The Bible is the greatest story ever told. Focusing on these elements of our faith should help to make church communications more effective.

Learn from the example of Cool Hand Luke. Don’t ever give up the fight against a failure to communicate.





Robert is one of our regular contributors. He is a communications professional and freelance writer. After serving as communications director at two Atlanta churches, he now works in marketing for Make-A-Wish Georgia. Carnes also volunteers as the social media lead at Vinings Church and contributes to a number of church communications blogs.

Read all posts by Robert.