Sharing our Ministries, One Story at a Time
April 28, 2017
By Nicole A. Krug, Canon for Media and Communications
Last week, I attended the annual Episcopal Communicators Conference held in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s always nice to be able to network with my fellow communicators from across the country. Many attendees are other diocesan communicators, but we always have a lot who are communicators in individual churches. This year, we had our biggest conference ever – 140 people! Having that many people together gave us a great opportunity to exchange ideas and compare similar issues that we as communicators face.
Our keynote speaker, Jana Riess, Ph.D., who is the author of The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less…, told us not to be afraid to be relational in our communications. She quoted Brene Brown, who said, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.”
Since I came home, I’ve been thinking about that statement. And I’ve been paying closer attention to the things I see in print, on social media, and TV advertisements. How often do you see or read something that shows vulnerability? Do we show that in our own church communications?
Sure, our church bulletins, e-newsletters, and Facebook pages are full of notes about potluck suppers, clean-up days, Bible study classes, and reminders to make stewardship pledges. But when was the last time we shared a story of transformation? Or about the family who was assisted through the church food bank (even if we have to change the names to protect their identity)? Is there a story of a relationship that was built as a result of the church’s community garden?
There are so many good ministries that are happening across our diocese! They are full of stories of hope, transformation, and yes, vulnerability. The people who read our church newsletters, especially those non-members who come across our websites and social media accounts, are hungry to read about those meaningful human experiences. They want to know that there is good happening in this hurting, broken world.
Dr. Riess shared a statistic that many of us are familiar with – 2/3rds of U.S. Episcopalians are 50+. So how do we share the Good News with the next generation? What are Millennials looking for? Dr. Riess mentioned that they are the least religious of any generation. But that doesn’t mean our churches shouldn’t make an effort to reach out to them. One way she suggested was to show them how we’re changing the world, starting in our neighborhoods.
My challenge to all of our churches is to look at your communications. How could your church begin to add the stories of ministry and transformation that are happening in your church community?