It used to be so easy. You simply needed someone to produce the bulletin and maybe change the church sign.

Now, you need someone who can coordinate and communicate all your ministries, messages and events. Maybe even create video sermon bumpers, posts on social media and church memes, plus assemble and layout the bulletin and update the church sign. This list doesn't even mention the posters, banners and outreach materials.

Church communications has gotten complex, so many churches believe a full-time person will handle everything.

Wait. Here are four questions you should answer before hiring that communications person:

1. What are you trying to accomplish?

Your ministry leadership needs to consider what needs to be achieved with your communications. Don't think about the products that will be created. Instead, think broader.

What do you actually want from better communications? Most want to grow and fully engage those regularly attending. Start with what's keeping you from doing that now. Most churches don't need more tools; they need more direction, an understanding of the community and congregation and better content that will reach a specific audience.

That's the work that's needed before you hire someone. It doesn't have to be entirely in place, but you need to find someone who is passionate for your ministry goals.

2. Who do you actually need?

To hire the right person, you need to know what skills they'll need. Will the position manage volunteers and staff? Or are the expectations more technical? Does he/she need to know how to program for a website, shoot and edit video, have amazing design skills and writing skills to engage people? That's a lot to ask of someone and rarely found.

Be realistic with your expectations. Perhaps you should have an outside consultant assess your situation and make practical recommendations.

3. Is the leadership team ready to welcome another voice?

In order to accomplish good church communications, you need someone who is welcome at the leadership table so he/she can help focus your ministry voice. This person needs to be able to advise against doing things and be listened to and respected for opinions.

Hire a positive person! Your communications person shouldn't simply be a technician unless someone wants to be his/her boss. Someone needs to oversee the strategy, the timing and the goals. That must come from someone at the leadership table.

4. Are you ready to get consistent?

Your church needs to become known for something relevant and needed in order to engage with an audience. That thread must be locked down and protected for your communications to rise above the noise. It's an editing process so your keywords are loved by search engines.

Consistent ministry tiering also communicates important information, but not all information. It starts with discovering your thread. If you don't want to do that intense work, you'll end up with a communications person who will be an overworked order-taker who can't keep up with everything.

And sadly, your congregation won't either.