Tuesday Re-mix –
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21
I don’t know how you feel about prayer and its power…or God and His willingness to answer prayer. But if you are a follower of Christ, I know this about you: you are pretty sure that God will at least answer Jesus’ prayers. Right? Yes, me too. So it is with great interest that I watch the church today to see how God answers Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17. I watch, fully expecting that God will work to bring it to pass…the unity of His people, that is.
I have spent the better part of the last two years on a “communications task force” for my church, charged with the responsibility of mapping out a course for our church to update, renovate, and (in some cases) completely re-think how we communicate both outside our walls and within our congregation. I have loved it. It is one of the most rewarding assignments I have ever had at my church. The discussions have been rich as we contemplate an infrastructure for virtually every level of communication.
While much of our focus thus far has been on how we communicate outwardly (I call that “branding”…see, I am not a marketing professional, so I get to use that word any way I like), I remain primarily concerned with how we communicate within the congregation. I feel strongly about that, because communication is the currency of relationships, and relationships are the building blocks of unity. There is, then, a crystal clear connection between church communication and church unity.
My church is multi-generational, much like many of your churches are. And communications among the very diverse generations today is a challenge. Moreover, my church is a larger congregation (thousands of active members), which presents its own challenges in terms of how effectively we communicate with each other. We simply must figure out how we are going to tell our stories to each other, how our testimonies can be effectively preserved and shared across the congregation. We must have systems in place for updated information about people, ministries, and events to get dispersed to everyone who is interested as quickly as they need it. We must learn to “do relationships” at varying degrees with more people than ever before. And we must learn Biblical accountability within those relationships, which requires the most sensitive communication of all.
Is it any wonder that more and more churches are turning to “communications professionals” to help them answer some of these challenges? Frankly, I have a hard time imagining how a church of more than a few hundred people could even begin to “preserve the unity of the Spirit” among them without some wise leadership in the area of communications. And the more opportunity I have to encounter Godly, Christian communications professionals who feel called to use their gifts in the church (writers, media specialists, creatives, Ad/PR folks, graphic artists, speakers, trainers, etc.) the clearer it becomes to me…
…that God is answering Jesus’ prayer for unity in some exciting ways today!