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The Ultimate Communicator and What We Can Learn from Him

The first principle of effective communications in the church can be summed up as the right message, to the right people, at the right time for the glory of God.

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The Ultimate Communicator and What We Can Learn from Him

The first principle of effective communications in the church can be summed up as the right message, to the right people, at the right time for the glory of God.

The Ultimate Communicator and What We Can Learn from Him

The first principle of effective communications in the church can be summed up as the right message, to the right people, at the right time for the glory of God.

The Ultimate Communicator and What We Can Learn from Him

The first principle of effective communications can be distilled as the right message to the right people at the right time. If we apply this principle to a church context it becomes the right message to the right people at the right time for the glory of God.  

God is the ultimate communicator. He sent his son down from Heaven to minister to us in ways we could understand – knowing our frame, remembering we are dust. I love how Eugene Peterson (another great communicator) puts the familiar 1 Corinthians 12:13 in The Message:

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”


As the ultimate communicator, God can use anything to bring us nearer to Him. A friend once told me how she managed to convince a very sceptical friend to come to church for the first time. The sermon was on the building of the ark and the specific measurements needed for Noah to build it successfully. She groaned inside fearing that the message was far too dry and obscure for her friend to engage with. However, her friend was deeply affected. He was an engineering student and the preciseness of the measurements and the beauty of the maths showed him evidence of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. God knew what message this young man needed to hear in order to believe.

From my own life, God used a secular novel, A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving, to speak to me profoundly and nudge me towards believing in Him.

 

Time and time again, God has given the right message to the right people at the right time for his glory. And as church communicators we need to ensure our communications are up to scratch if we are going to share in the great commission. Good communications can:

·      Draw people in to the church to hear the gospel preached

·      Direct people in need to sources of help e.g. to foodbanks or to life stage groups like mums and toddlers where the gospel maybe preached

·      Highlight opportunities for people to serve their local community out of love for the gospel

·      Correct misconceptions about the church and demonstrate the gospel in action  

 

Communications in the church is far more than just telling people what’s going on and when. Our communication, whether one-on-one or corporately, reflects the tone and culture of the whole church. Good communications can create a sense of openness and trust so that existing members and newcomers alike feel welcome, seen and cared for.

 

In any church there will be a diverse mix of people and each one will have a different preference for how they like to receive information, engage with church life, and tell others about the gospel. So in order to maximise the chances of the right message going to the right people at the right time, we need to use a mixture of communication methods. These include:  

·      Word of mouth such as Sunday morning announcements or phone calls

·      Print communications such as newsletters or leaflets

·      Events such as small prayer meetings, book clubs or church picnics

·      Advertising such as posters for groups or services open to the community e.g. youth groups or support for those with addictions, or adverts on local media sites/newspapers  

·      Electronic methods such as social media, emails, blogs and a church website

 

When it comes to the content of the message, that’s up to you and whoever your audience is. But bear in mind God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. Listening to the audience you wish to target before you create your message will give you valuable insights into the type of message that will be the most meaningful. For example, a middle aged church administrator with little experience of teenagers will need guidance in creating authentic messages about a youth club. The quickest and easiest way to get around this is to ask the audience what they want… if they can tear themselves away from their phones long enough to tell you!

 

So remember, the right message to the right people at the right time for the glory of God should be the guiding principle behind every communication you plan in your church. As Solomon in Proverbs 25:11 says:

 

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

 

 

 

 

Jo Black
Jo Black
After studying at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Jo has had a career in communications for academia, the NHS and the Welsh Government. She is currently a Communications Manager at Public Health Wales. Jo became a Christian in 2008. She lives in Newport with her husband and two daughters.

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