One of my greatest struggles working in a communications role for a church is finding the balance between executing existing plans or ideas and finding space for creativity and exploring new possibilities. Church communicators function within a certain tension of straightforward (relatively speaking) administrative tasks and an ever-changing communications landscape that requires awareness, innovation, and a certain amount of “let’s try this and see how it goes!” (See this post on agile failing for a little encouragement.) There are things that simply need to be done, but we can find ourselves so stuck in the maintenance of things that we forget to explore new possibilities.
Happy 149th birthday, Concordia Publishing House! Of course, there’s a bunch of excitement about the big one-five-zero happening a year from now (and rightfully so!), but you only turn 149 once. Whatever the number, birthdays are a great time to remember, reflect, and celebrate—so here we go!
Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Although I’m one who loves a well thought out plan, I have a lot of growing to do when it comes to having a solid grasp on this. So, I’ve been reading, listening to podcasts, and trying to soak up any wisdom I can from those who do this sort of thing well. One recurring theme I’ve encountered is that of planning rhythms.
Stories are some of the most powerful tools in a church communicator’s belt. They have the power to engage us in something beyond ourselves and pass life-giving faith from one generation to another.
“Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms.” These words were deemed the unofficial motto for the 1933–34 World’s Fair in Chicago. More than eighty years have passed since that grand event, which celebrated great strides in technological innovation. For our culture, the same motto seems to ring a little too true.
In his book Digitized: Spiritual Implications of Technology, Dr. Bernard Bull discusses this pattern of our conforming to, or being shaped by, technology, at times without realizing what is happening. It’s vital we recognize that the solving of one problem generally leads to a slew of new challenges to address. Many of these challenges have significant connection to our spiritual lives and the faith formation of our families.
Oh Canva, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. . . .
Okay, so Elizabeth Barrett Browning I am not. I do, however, have a long list of reasons why Canva is a church communicator’s best friend. Like many, my first introduction to Canva’s superpowers was learning how to create those really beautiful, crisp, professional-looking social media graphics. But there are so many other ways Canva can be used in your congregation’s communication efforts!
In our information-saturated landscape, many have asked the question “how do we communicate well with our church’s members?” The answer to that question is, of course, multi-faceted and ever-changing. A little more than a year ago, as my church—Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Rockford, Illinois—evaluated the congregation’s communication needs, our existing communication avenues, and the time and energy we devoted to different efforts, we determined that our monthly email newsletter wasn’t as helpful as it had been in the past.
Enter The Connecting Point. Well, to be honest, it didn’t have that name or a clear direction for a while. There was a good chunk of time in the development stage when I would refer to it as “the new quarterly storytelling publication that will be available both as a hard copy and digitally.” Let’s just say that, while descriptive, the name garnered more raised eyebrows than buy-in.
The way we use our memory has changed in recent years, and daily tasks that once required us to recall information are now done by accessing digital directories or using voice activation. When I was in grade school, memory tools were of the index-card variety, each holding a different historical fact, spelling word, or basic math equation. Now memory cards hold countless digital images and files, at times doing our remembering for us.
Stories are a powerful way to communicate and connect. From advertising to our dinner tables, stories saturate our lives. God’s Word is filled with stories, communicating our fallenness and Jesus’ faithfulness. As we use stories in church communications(social media, blog, video, website, etc.), it’s vital that our narratives continually point back to Jesus - his life, death, and resurrection.
The communications world seems to be abuzz with talk of storytelling, and for good reason! Stories have the power to connect, engage and inform. We learn about people as they share their experiences, joys and sorrows. Stories give organizations the opportunity to share the “why” that motivates them, along with the outcomes of their efforts on a more personal level.