So often we share news or invite people to something or teach or challenge them, but how do we show love?
Hi, I’m Yvon Prehn and Welcome to The Devotions for Church Communicators Podcast!
As you’ll see today, without love in our communications we are just making noise and how to do that is what I’ll talk about today.
As always in this short I want to help you focus on God’s Word, the incredible calling you have to share God’s message of salvation, and to strengthen and encourage you.
This podcast is from me, Yvon Prehn and my ministry Effective Church Communications.
Below is the podcast and below it a transcript of it:
Our podcast today is entitled:
Devotion #14: Do all you do with love or it's just noise
And our key verse for it is:
If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. (1 Cor. 13:1-3 NLT).
Words without love are just noise is Rick Warren’s commentary on these verses from one message in his 40 Days of Community
series. Though these words apply in every interaction we have in life, I think they are especially true in the world of church communications.
I’ve often said in my seminars that I can tell when I look at publication samples if the person who was doing them was having a grumpy day or not. People often laugh. But it really isn’t a joke.
Who we are, the mood we are in, and how much we care for the people for whom we are creating the print or digital piece comes through loud and clear in church communications.
Quite a while ago, but I still remember it well, I was shown a sample of a church bulletin produced on a typewriter. The tiny church was very poor and it was the best they could manage. But it was organized clearly and was complete in the facts communicated. The person doing it obviously took time and care putting it together, but there was one more thing about it that brought tears to my eyes. The church secretary hand-collated and folded each one so she could fold them in an off-set way and then on the top sheet, she hand cut each page with the sort of scalloped scissors used for scrapbooking. She did that she said, so that “people would feel special” when they got the bulletin. I’m sure on some level, people not only felt special, but knew they were loved. I’ve seen other examples of love in church communications in many ways.
I remember a church bulletin from a Greek Orthodox Church, where a retired lady in the church took time each week to research and then to write little stories of the saints of the church so members would understand their heritage of faith.
At a large church I visited in California, there was a table on the patio that had cards on it done up for all of the small groups in the church that described each group, told what they were studying, and invited newcomers to attend. The cards included upbeat photos and maps and were created in a positive, welcoming way. Keeping a project like that current is a huge labor of love.
One of my favorite responses to visitors was from a pastor in Canada whose welcoming letter included two free coupons for a latte and an invitation to Latte with the Pastor and along with that an invitation to “ask any question you’d like about God.” (I've made lots of postcards with that idea that are in the Template Section with various holidays of the www.effectivechurchcom.com website)
I’ve seen humorous expressions of love, like the one from a lady who tore the edges of announcements for the ladies events and then scattered them on the floor, because as she told me, the ladies in her church were very tidy and this way she knew they would pick them up and read them.
There are lots of ways to express love in your church communications. You know your people best. Create your church communications with creativity and love and your words will be much more than “just noise.”
That’s the end of the devotion, but I want to share a few additional notes on application
Currently, our world is in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. The challenges are many, but it is also an exciting time where we can show love through our communications in new ways.
I’ve created some postcards that are free downloads on the website that you can send out to encourage people. I followed my own advice, did that, and was amazed at the positive response I got.
I also have encouraging Instagram images you can share.
One other way to show love during current challenges is to explain new ways of communicating with your congregation. To simply tell people to “Log on to the Zoom meeting.” Or “We’re streaming live on YouTube or Facebook—join us!” may not make sense to everyone in your congregation. That can make isolation even more lonely for people who are left out of meeting with their church family.
I feel bad even mentioning this because I want to share more ideas on what to do in this situation and I don’t have them ready as yet, but I wanted to get it out there because if you have ways you’ve helped educate your congregation on how to use some of the news ways you are sharing church services, PLEASE send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them in the comments for this blog and I’ll pass them on to everyone.
Or if you have additional ideas how you intentionally show love to your congregation, let me know that also and thanks so much ahead of time.
That’s all for today. Please subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast ap and tell your fellow church communicators about it so they can be encouraged and challenged in their ministry of church communications. For practical advice, free templates, and training in church communications go to www.effectivechurchcom.com.
IN closing, I’m Yvon Prehn and I’d like to end with this prayer and benediction for you as you work:
May you do your work grounded in the Word of God,
Empowered by the strength of God,
Inspired by the wonder of God,
Confident that God is with you and that He will use your communications to accomplish His will in the world.
As you work today and all your days, may your ministry be filled with joy, grace, and power in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.