The Five Steps can (and I have seen examples of this many times) can be implemented in any size church and on any budget. If you have (or are) a faithful communication creator who uses only MS Word, or WordPerfect, or MS Publisher or whatever—wonderful, useful communications can be created. You do not need to use high-end, expensive design programs.
The Adobe Creative Suite, Quark and other high-end programs can produce amazing things, but if you aren’t trained to use them incredibly well, someone who is well-trained in MS Publisher for example, can produce materials of comparable, or even better, quality. It is never the program that determines the quality of the final piece, it is the person who uses the program.
My personal favorite for communication creation for most churches is MS Publisher. Some very large churches with complex print needs may need Adobe CS. I use Adobe products to layout the books I produce because MS Publisher doesn’t handle longer documents as well.
However, book layout is a fairly specialized task and even churches who might use a more expensive program for some church communications, benefit from using MS Publisher to equip their communications team. Lots more about this topic on my website and in other materials, but MS Publisher is a great program, costs very little, and will create just about anything you can think of inexpensively and professionally.
In addition to being able to inexpensively create print materials, creating many web-based communications are FREE!
If you have no money, you can create incredible blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and all sorts of social networking communications for no cost, other than time. You can create great websites and have them hosted for no cost—see my section on my website about Websites for how. Podcasting costs very little (just the cost of a microphone and a $29 one from Target is what I use to record mine) to create and nothing to distribute. Extraordinary artwork, images, and photos are all available on the web, legally and free. You can then create slick, glossy, professional publications and have them printed in days for bargain prices through online publishers. My website, www.effectivechurchcom.com gives you instructions and resources on these areas. More materials are being created that will go into detail in these areas. My next book project is one on creating websites with WordPress and lots of material associated with that. Be sure you are signed up for my email updates on my website to be notified of its release.
Loving people and Jesus and being in tune with what works for your folks, in your town, at your church, to the audience you are called to reach is far more important than attempting to create communications to meet some generic, professional publication standard, created by slickly marketed, high-end software, or buying communications from some company who tells you they are the answer to your needs if you will just spend a certain amount of money to do things for you. YOU DON’T NEED TO DO THAT!
You will always be tempted to spend more money for some new tool, but the training of your people and their commitment to fully fulfilling the Great Commission are the most important ingredients required to create of communications the Lord can use to change lives and you don’t need much money to do that. If you have extra money, use it to feed hungry kids.
That last statement was not a gratuitous Christian remark. When we stand before Jesus, he will not ask us what software we used to create the glossy, four-color bulletin or if we pulled off a website with scrolling images in the header. We do have to let him know about what we did about hungry kids.