Tag Archives: Cultivate

Cultivate ’09: The Power (and Responsibility) of Church Communication

This is the third in a series of posts about Cultivate ’09, a one-day conversation held at Park Community Church in Chicago about church communication.  Born out of conversations among some  respected consultants in this field (Dawn Nicole Baldwin, Tim Schraeder, Kem Meyer, among others), Cultivate was the first of what I hope will be many similar gatherings.

In my mind, there is an obvious connection between church unity (my calling) and church communication. Church unity is all about relationships.  Relationships, in turn, are all about communication.  You can do the logic from here.

There is an element to church communications which is not so much about PR or marketing or branding or logos.  A critical part of the ministry of church communications is how a church communicates within the body of believers. The ministry of church communications necessarily must include some strategies about how to facilitate conversation among the church itself.  Sitting and talking with Cultivate participants, it was clear to me that many of these communications professionals at least have a glimpse of what this means (actually, some have much more than just a glimpse).  There is power in formatting how a story is told.  More importantly, there is responsibility in using that power to bring about God-honoring results.

In a session with Kent Shaffer (of Bombay Creative and churchrelevance.com), he said it this way: “Communication [in churches] is more than just sending the right message…it is evoking the right response.” When we begin to take seriously our objective of “evoking the right response”, we begin to see that we can actually empower how people see each other.  We can facilitate conversation among them, strengthening relationships.  We can help bridge communication gaps within a church body, and thereby “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond …

Cultivate ’09: Telling God’s Story from One Generation to the Next

This is the second in a series of posts on my impressions from Cultivate ’09, a church communications conference at Chicago’s Park Community Church.

The gathering place for registrants of Cultivate ’09 was the coffee bar in Park Community Church.  It was where we all relaxed while we waited for the doors to the auditorium to open.  It was a spacious room with several couches and tables and nice chairs, and a full service coffee bar.  It was a fitting room for this crowd of communications professionals, most of whom were of the gen-x variety (when I walked into the room, the median age went up a good 10 years).  I felt like one of the few who was not carrying a Macbook in a shoulder bag or backpack and wearing thick-rimmed narrow glasses and shirt-tail out over jeans…all marks of a generation younger than I.

Coffee barThis type of atmosphere is where an entire generation of Christians gather to tell their stories.  And they do tell their stories differently than my generation does.  I suppose my generation (and the one before mine) enjoy telling their stories by standing and talking, such as in a pulpit or on a platform.  Andy Stanley, John Ortberg, Rick Warren, Erwin McManus, etc. are all masters of telling stories in this way.  I suppose when my generation gets really creative, it tells a great story through a feature-length movie (insert the name of your favorite movie producer here–chances are he/she is a Boomer or older).

But as you transition from Boomers into Gen-x’ers (now in their 30’s) and then into the millennials (now in their 20’s), the story-telling changes dramatically.  Their are now two young adult generations who present and receive “story” completely differently from the rest of us and even from one another. Their …

Cultivate ’09: The Church’s Story is in Good Hands

Cultivate ’09 was a one-day conversation held at Park Community Church in Chicago among a hundred or so creative minds (some of us were less creative than others) about church communication.  Born out of conversations among some highly respected consultants in this field (Dawn Nicole Baldwin, Tim Schraeder, Kem Meyer, among others), Cultivate was the first of what I hope will be many similar gatherings.  This post is the first in a series on my impressions.

cultivateLogoIt has been a long time coming, but there is finally a bit of a ground-swell in the American church of a “new” staff position: Director of Communications.  It is not so new in the mega-church world, but more and more smaller churches across the country are beginning to realize the importance of having someone on their staff whose entire job is to coordinate communication efforts both inside and outside the church.  Different churches are coming to this realization in different ways, but they are in fact coming.  Even the mainline denominations, who are often the last to follow church trends, are beginning to make the journey.  They are realizing that telling God’s story effectively, both among church members and to the world outside the church, requires an increasingly wide range of skills and creative abilities, from verbal communication, to the written word, to video production, to web design, all the way to social media and beyond.

At Cultivate ’09, I was reminded that this community of church communications professionals is growing.  I was encouraged that more and more of the American church is taking seriously its responsibility to tell God’s story in languages and formats in which it can be understood by our culture.  I was seriously impressed that God has called young professionals out of their respective secular media worlds and has …