Author’s Preface—the North Star of this book
There are many fine websites and resources today for church communicators and churches benefit greatly from these varied resources. In this mix, it might be helpful to clarify the North Star of Effective Church Communications, the ministry behind his book, and the foundational goal of it which is:
How to create communications that will help your church fully fulfill the Great Commission.
This is the one goal around which everything we do revolves. The time-lapse image above of how all the stars revolve around the North Star instead of every star going in a different direction illustrates what we are trying to do. We want to help churches chose a North Star and intentionally revolve all their communications around it.
Our North Star was chosen in obedience to the Great Commission Jesus gave us in Matt: 28:18-20 when he said:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Fully fulfilling the Great Commission means that in addition to helping people come to know Jesus as Savior, your church helps believers become mature disciples of Jesus. Anything less is incomplete obedience.
In terms of church communications this means:
Our communications don't stop at bringing people to the church service, but also that they work hard to involve people in all the other ministries of the church that will help them grow to mature disciples.
This requires a progression of communication steps and a variety of communications, both in print and online illustrated in our Five Steps of Effective Church Communication and Marketing which are:
Though not always obvious or explicit—an invitational postcard or social media post doesn’t say “This is Step 1 and we are inviting you to an event where you can consider Jesus” and a clear podcast and notes on How we got our Bible and why we can trust it doesn’t say, “This is Step 4 and you are being instructed in the Christian faith so you will become a mature disciple” through each of these steps and all the materials we create, we keep in mind our North Star, the goal of fulfilling the Great Commission as the fixed point around which everything on our website, in this book, and in our ministry takes its direction.
This is needed in the church at large
Many Christian churches around the world are losing ground and we feel that part of the reason is that many churches fall short in the communication goal of fully fulfilling the Great Commission. Their communications are characterized by either a primary emphasis on outreach and initial communications only or by an assortment of unrelated (though often impressive) communications without purpose or overall goal, reminiscent of the phrase, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
To be clear, we aren't diminishing the hard work of church communicators or the good that many current church communications carry out in print and online, but we could do so much more with a clear vision, an ever-present North Star for all we do. People's eternal destiny is at stake and we need to keep that in mind and in prayer in every communication project we do.
Additional implications of fully fulfilling the Great Commission as our North Star
Because of the eternal importance of the Great Commission, we encourage consistently evaluating and measuring results of your communications—not only in numerical response, but in the changed lives of the people receiving them. No matter what they look like, no matter the latest technology or social media involved, if people are not taking steps towards coming to know Jesus as Savior and growing as disciples, your communications are not ultimately successful.
Because of this emphasis, though design, trends, and tools are important and we teach and offer resources in all these areas, we realize they are not of primary importance. We strive to make much of our content and training timeless because, though design trends, social media, and our computer creation tools will all change, the purpose and goal of our church communications, fully fulfilling the Great Commission, won't.
Because "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45)" we also believe out of the abundance of the heart the computer creates and there is a lot of emphasis on this site about the importance of the spiritual life of the church communicator. We believe you must be strong in the Lord and grounded in His Word to carry out the eternally significant work you are called to do. You must believe in the importance of fully fulfilling the Great Commission before it can permeate your communication creation.
Having said that, we realize that no one comes into church communication ministry a perfect and mature disciple of Jesus and we most certainly have not arrived at that place. We are all on pilgrimage and our goal is to help you in every way we can to not only help your church create communications that fully fulfill the Great Commission but that as you do that, that you also will grow into the mature disciple Jesus wants you to be.
We trust this book will expand your vision, explain the process, and challenge your church to make fully fulfilling the Great Commission the North Star of your church communications ministry.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
for God's great glory
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