Out of the 66 books of the Bible, 39 of them are the names of people.
Ordinary people no different from you or me with one difference—they allowed an extraordinary God to use them for his purposes. As you consider the communications needs of your church, you might be tempted to think there is little you can do, but God can use you in the same way he used the people of the Bible to change the course of your church, your church communications, and your community in extraordinary ways.
As an inspiration, let’s look at Nehemiah. He was an official in the palace in Babylon, with no doubt a comfortable life. That changed when he heard about the situation of his fellow Jews back at Jerusalem, when the word came that they were, “in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire (Neh. 1:3).”
Most likely a lot of people heard that report. Many in Babylon and the thousands living in Jerusalem knew there was a huge problem. But one man let it break his heart and he took that heartbreak to God and did something about it.
My heart is broken over the state of communications in many churches today, where lots of time and money is spent creating things that might be design wonderful and created with amazing technology, but that are not communicating the gospel and the basics of growing in the faith. That they are not accomplishing what they should be is clear with the number of churches closing, declining church attendance, and the lack of Biblical knowledge and lifestyle among professed Christians.
The evidence that church communication is broken is all around us, so what can we do about it? Through the ministry of Effective Church Communications I hope to help build you up to be a more effective church communicator. I am committed to doing that. But my ministry aside, I want to take this example of Nehemiah as a challenge and encouragement to you.
Nehemiah was just one person, but God used him to change the course of a nation. As you look at the communication situation of your church, you may think you are only one person and you can’t do much—but you can! Not because of any skill or creativity or wisdom in you, though you should develop all your skills and gifts to use in God’s service, but ultimately because you serve an extraordinary God who can do extraordinary things through you.
Application #1 Realize that you don’t have to be incredibly talented or have the biggest budget for God to use you
A few years before Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem to build the wall, the people who returned to the land were struggling with how to rebuild the Temple. The job seemed overwhelming, but God encouraged his faltering people with these words from the prophet Zechariah:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zec. 4:6
The success of our work isn’t ultimately dependent upon us, but on the favor of our Lord. That’s why our orientation to our work should be to him and our inspiration always from our Lord and his Word. We get ideas from current design trends and it is helpful to follow them. For example, on this website, the uncluttered, “flat” design and compatibility with mobile phones and tablets is very different from the complex designs of previous versions that didn’t adapt automatically any device. I trust this was a good design choice. But ultimately I made that choice because after researching may options, this seemed like the one that would best serve the church communicators who need to access resources in many ways.
I always feel like I’m behind the curve when it comes to technology (even though I have more incredible technology than many brothers and sisters in Jesus who struggle to create communications all over the world). I constantly have to remind myself to quit whining, get a grip and get to work with what I have. I’m starting to do podcasts now and after researching for years, being totally intimidated by the big fancy microphones and sound boards and all that, I ran across some super simple advice that said I could do them with my $49 Logitech headset and the free Audacity software on my current computer. That I can afford and manage. I’ve done a lot of radio and teaching in the past, so the content part wasn’t difficult, but the technology kept from doing this for a long time. Finally I was able to be obedient to what I knew the Lord wanted me to do for a long time. Are my podcasts sound perfect or super-produced? Nope, but I wanted to TALK to you, to be able to share teaching in ways that are convenient for those I serve in the midst of crazy life-styles. I just released the first one and I hope to do many more. Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will never have all the technology or tools we think we need. Even if we get them we often won’t have the time to learn to use them as well as we could to get the most out of them.
We simply need to be grateful for what we have, learn to get the most out of it and prayerfully do our work for the Lord.
Application #2—Read and apply the book, The Five Steps of Effective Church Communications and Marketing, to enable your church to fully fulfill the Great Commission
This book will totally change how you look at your church communications ministry. It will help expand your vision from making attractive, successful individual pieces (all good in themselves) to looking at your communication program holistically as a way to move people from outside the church to become mature disciples of Jesus. You’ll also learn the strategy, characteristics, and measurement techniques that will help you create communications that will result in your church growing in numbers and your people in spiritual maturity.
Paperback book on amazon.com CLICK HERE to go to the sale page. Price $15.99
Application #3—Share this vision of church communications with others
If you passionately believe that you can change the church and your community with your church communications, get together with other church communicators, encourage each other spiritually as well as in skills and pray for the projects you work on.
Staying strong spiritually is one of the greatest challenges of working in church communications and since so many church communicators work in churches where they are often the only person working on communication projects, it is an especially big challenge. Asking for feedback or prayer on projects (“Do you really think this typeface communicates the tone we want?”) probably isn’t a topic you feel comfortable with sharing in staff meetings.
This fall Effective Church Communications is going to be working on putting together an organization for church communicators. If you would like to be part of that and want to keep informed about it, contact me at email@example.com. I’ll put you on a special email list and keep you updated on it. I have wanted to do this for many years and have secured the domain names (through time, money, waiting) for the International Association of Effective Church Communicators ( iaecc.com; iaecc.org; iaecc.net). I would like to model it after the group that helped me tremendously when I first started as a church communicator, The International Association of Business Communicators. Lots to do, but we need this.
Finally, dream big and build up your church communication program
Nehemiah had a vision and he didn’t quit until it was fulfilled. We don’t have the same vision, but we have the same God and he is able to do incredible things if we trust him and get to work!