Several months ago, I posted the first video I did on desktop publishing in the church, How to Use Your Computer to Create Better Newsletters, Bulletins, and More!
I uploaded CDs of it that had been created from the original VHS tapes. The quality is not what we expect today, but it was and is interesting to me how the basic principles of good design and communication haven't changed in almost 30 years from when I first wrote the book. Nor have the needs of churches and the still too frequent challenges they have in creating effective church communications. This book was based on Tap the Power of Desktop Publishing which was the first book out on desktop publishing for churches and as far as I know on doing communications with the computer for churches.
The first version of the book was published by David C. Cook and the second edition by Gospel Light. Though both books seemed to do OK, the second one did well enough for the company to do this video series, both companies told me they decided to not continue printing it because they didn't see a future for the computer to be used to create communications in the church. In fact, Gospel Light said they didn't see technology as a whole had any future use in the church.
Well, that was a miscalculation.
But I wasn't deterred--I made photocopies of the book at Kinkos and they sold well at the seminars I taught all over North America for many years.
It wasn't until recently I found the CDs of the seminar and put them on my YouTube Channel . The link will take you to the first video.
I was frustrated because I couldn't find the notes that went with the videos though I thought I looked all over for them. However, recently, as often happens in my messy office, I was looking for something entirely different and there were the notes, misfiled.
I scanned them and made them into a PDF, which you can download HERE
The book it was based on is out of print, but I retained the rights to it and scanned most of it, and turned it into an ebook. I left out the chapters on computers and software as they were outdated and no longer useful. I renamed the book, Back to Basics, essential foundational skills for church communicators. It's part of the soon-to-be-released Effective Church Communications Library, but I wanted to give you a free copy of it to go with the notes. Here is the link to a download of it: https://payhip.com/b/RK9hW
A little more church communication history
I created the first version of the book on a MacPlus computer. My first computer was the Kaypro, but it only did word processing and printed out with a dot matrix printer.
My MacPlus was one of the first off the assembly line—it was hand-signed inside the case by everyone who worked on it. I was single at the time I wrote the book with it (I met my dear husband a year later) and buying the computer at about $2,500 for the computer and $5,000 for the laser printer was a huge act of faith for me. To do it my mother had to cosign a loan for it.
I felt it was worth it if I wanted to teach churches how to do this. The MacPlus actually allowed you to do page layout and typesetting. I had been trained in traditional publication design and what this machine could do for churches seemed like a miracle. I couldn't wait to teach it to as many as would listen to me and the publication of this book made it possible.
The idea of doing communications wasn't met with universal excitement. I had many people express concerns. I received letters (email wasn't a thing as yet) telling me sometimes in anger, sometimes with genuine concern for my soul, that computers were of the devil and I was promoting his work. I never could quite figure out how the devil was behind something that enabled churches to communicate the news of the gospel and help people grow as disciples more effectively. When I married my bi-vocational pastor husband, we saw first-hand how it helped us in ministry, and after using it in ministry (other computers, but same ideas) for many years, we can't imagine teaching and sharing without these useful tools of technology.
A challenge for today
We never know what God will surprise us with. Computers were once revolutionary. Then the Internet came along. Now we dabble in the metaverse and VR.
We don't know how God will use the various tools but we do know if we walk with Him and listen closely He will guide us in their use, give us ideas and creativity we can't imagine on our own. He will also give us the wisdom, skills, and excitement we need to learn the tools He wants us to learn as we use them for His glory—I can't wait to see what's ahead—but for now, the video, the notes, and hundreds of articles and resources are on this site to help you be an effective church communicator. Please make use of them to share with your world the good news about Jesus!