In addition to the reality that evangelism and discipleship are what we, as Christians are to be about, this is also a good example of the approach I've always tried to have in church communications and want to be more of an emphasis going forward.
The tools we use to create our communications are always changing and will continue to evolve. I could have never imagined when I was astounded with the technical ability of the IBM Self-Correcting typewriter that I'd be communicating today creating images in Canva, doing podcasts and training videos on the web that reach the world.
I imagine those starting out with the technology we have today will look back, should they and this world last, and be amazed at what they will use in church communications five decades from now.
Tools are essential, but often a distraction
Though technology and the tools we use to communicate have continuously changed from the use of clay tablets to the Internet (though the pace has accelerated greatly), a human tendency continues to focus on the tools as THE most important ingredient to communication success. At one time it was radio that would reach the world, then television, then the Internet came along and gave birth to the myriad of technologies today.
A bulletin with color added was a big deal at one time; now churches worry that they aren't posting enough on all the latest social media channels. I read a blog this morning about some new chat system Apple is reportedly working on that will no doubt be a big deal to many if they do. And to others one more reason to feel like they aren't doing enough.
Each time a new tool appears we loudly proclaim THIS IS IT! Conquer this or that tool and the world will be reached for Jesus. Or at least we'll have a new tool to try.
Please don't misunderstand me--I love technology and new tools and think that they can and should ALL be used in every way possible to reach our world for Jesus and to help believers become more like Jesus. But at the same time, I cannot emphasize enough, as I wrote many years ago, in direct disagreement with Marshall McLuhan who famously declared that, "the medium is the message" that my firm belief is that the medium is not the message, the message is the message.
And sadly it is that message, that salvation from our sins and an eternity of suffering and darkness is ONLY found in Jesus Christ and the only worthwhile purpose in life is to live the way He calls us to live as we grow to become more like Him, that message so easily gets lost as we frantically spend our time chasing this or that communication fad or whatever we think will appeal to the audience we want to reach.
I want to help you keep your focus on what is most important
Again, communication trends, new communication tools, and audience analysis are useful tools, and we should use them as effectively as possible, but they are not the most important thing. Clearing communicating the message of the Gospel and the need for Christians to become more like Jesus is the most important thing. However, it seems that the primacy of that message is also something that is not always emphasized in much of the current commentary or training on church communications. I realize that is not the calling of everyone or every organization that contributes to training others in effective church communications, but I wanted to clarify what I feel my calling and what I hope my useful contribution is.
When C. S. Lewis wrote Mere Christianity, he said that he wrote it in part, using a battlefield analogy to answer a need "where the line was thinnest."
My underlying and my primary goal with Effective Church Communications has always been to help you create communications that help your church fully fulfill the Great Commission, meaning to help people come to know Jesus as Savior and grow to be mature disciples--an emphasis on the core messages of the Christian faith. Though this has always been there, it will become more explicit going forward.
There are many places online where you can learn HOW to do things, where you can find out about the latest tools and trends, and though I may periodically touch on some of these issues (e.g. it seems no one has particularly good training on typography or some basic design issues), my primary emphasis in what I share will be on the WHY. Why you are doing what you are doing and how can ALL that you do work towards fully fulfilling the Great Commission, making the message clear.
That's why the Mother's Day emphasis on this website is not just on making moms feel loved and appreciated (which is, of course, important and should always be done) but on how we can use this Sunday, which has a large number of unchurched and unsaved children and spouses coming to church to make mom happy and use it to help them become part of the family of God.
Expect this emphasis to continue and make the most of this Mother's Day for the Kingdom of God!
Check out these resources to make the most of Mother's Day
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