A simple understanding of public relations, is that the practice seeks to create a mutually beneficial relationship between an organisation and its stakeholders, or depending on which school of thought you belong, publics.
Beyond the spiritual call: Public relations and religious organisations
A must read for every church leader, pastor and imam.
Religious organisations constantly attract different kinds of people from all spheres of endeavor and diverse interests.
Most often, you find that these individuals fall out with the Church or the Mosque, not that they themselves are trouble makers, or that the religious leader does not have a message, but due to unfulfilled desires and unmet needs.
Beyond the spiritual call, and the divine interactions, there is a rising need for the religious leader to fully understand the needs, aspirations and desires of his or her teeming public.
How will a Shepherd know the state of his or her flock, if he does not take time to see how they are doing, in this case, to properly understand if the message is impacting their lives, or if there needs to be an adjustment in the service outline or organisational structure to suit the members' needs.
The issue of properly tapping into the human resources available in every religious community has also arisen, due to lack of actionable data, from research.
Religious leaders need to find ways to generate data and/or research their congregation to properly understand their 'publics'.
Gone are the days where Mr. minister stands and preaches over the head of the people, because he feels they fear God, and it is the Holy word of the Lord.
Even God wants his people to be improved and enlightened as they interact with him through the various religions. If someone is not being fed, he leaves or better still chooses a better and attractive alternative that suits his lifestyle.
Then, the religious 'knowers' and spiritual cops term him or her a 'backslider'.
What they fail to know is that the soul longs to be fed, and it is your duty as the Shepherd of souls to find out what the needs of your environment are, and then strategise to tailor your activities to meet them.
This is where the public relations practise can help religious bodies properly communicate their message, vision better, so they can properly guard their sheep from the wolf.
Public Relations can help you analyse your publics and research the trends in your community, including the various age brackets in your organisation's groups to get data that will help you determine the social, cultural, economic levels of your people.
This is not about throwing around questionnaires. It is about researching to first of all understand the deep alignments of the people in your congregation.
This process will help generate relevant questions that will give you the data you can act on and produce results.
Religious organisations should open up to the application of the art and science of public relations.
You can use these steps to create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your members.
1. Create feedback channels for your message: Use what we call the 2-Way communication model. I agree this might be taken wrongly by people who seek to control their leaders, but it will give you a better perspective regarding how your messages have impacted their lives.
Testimonies are not enough. There should be question and answer segments after programs. Channels and/or platforms to discuss teachings, and most of all messages should be related to the current challenges of the day, with a bid to proffering solutions.
2. Research your external and internal environment: By this, I mean to study the trends in the community you belong.
What is the age bracket? Who are the people there? What are the dominant needs or occurrences? Are they connected to proper health facilities and other infrastructure? Is the presence of the government felt in their vicinity?
3. Create a strategy: Brainstorm with your team to determine how best to meet these needs through your message and other activities.
4. Evaluate you strategy: It takes us back to feedback. You ought to be able to measure in specific terms, the percentage growth or drop in your membership, progress made in your community, and the positive of negative impacts that have occurred in the environment and the people.
Public Relations all the way!!!
Thank you for reading.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: