Walking the line between nerd and cool.

Telling Stories: Bridging the Information Gap

One thing I hear on a regular basis at church is that people don’t know what’s going on. Sometimes it boggles my mind because I feel like we’ve made big strides to get the word out about what’s happening around here. Our online calendar is always up to date with what’s happening here. We even print out the calendar and put it at the Information Center for people who can’t get online. We publicize every event, class or special function that’s coming up in the weekly announcement sheet. You can download the announcements online as well. We post links to upcoming events on our website.

But despite all this, people still say they don’t know what’s going on at their church. I think it’s because there’s a large gap in our promotion plan. Imagine having a conversation with someone about something their looking forward to. Maybe it’s a special celebration, a concert, a new movie coming out or something else. You hear about all the lead up, then it finally happens and they never talk about it again. Wouldn’t that be a little odd?

We do it all the time, though. We talk about the events and classes that are on the horizon, even getting farther and farther ahead of the timeline, but we rarely take time to talk about what happened. When people say they don’t know what’s happening at church, I think they really mean they don’t know what happened at church. It’s a fair criticism, because we rarely talk about what happened. You know, the rest of the story?

As I craft the verbal announcements, I’m going to work on incorporating more storytelling and less “informational” type stuff. The information can easily be found online or in the written announcements—why keep saying the same thing verbally? The Executive Ministry Team also recently decided to write something for the announcements after each of our meetings. Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to share everything we talk about in a public way, but there’s lots of stuff that we can talk about, so why not?

I’m also working on a new section for the website titled simply “News”. It will be a new menu item where you can find stories and news from ministries that happen around First Trinity on a regular basis. Sadly, I hit a snag as my favorite plugin for making it work the way I want is broken on the new version of WordPress. I’m looking for an alternative, but there are surprisingly few options available. It’s kind of annoying after finally figuring out a system for telling the story to have it break before I could even install it.

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7 responses

  1. Excellent? Why, when you have so many avenues of communication, do your congregation not know what is happening? Because they do not care enough to find out, or even remember when they have been told. You have to sell the other events, not just assume people will be interested enough to come, and perhaps they think one hour on a Sunday is enough anyway.

    I think the difference between selling your other events successfully and irritating, pointless nagging is having reasonable expectations. We know we have Good News, but people do have other things on their minds. How can you entice them? We know that a church should be a close community, but some people just want an hour of worship a week.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:18 am

  2. Oops, I meant “Excellent!”

    December 27, 2011 at 10:18 am

  3. Tracy

    I like the idea of “following through” on events with storytelling.

    December 28, 2011 at 10:43 am

    • susansteege

      Great post, Jason. Love having you back in the blogosphere!

      December 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

  4. Pingback: Announcements or Newsletters? « Intersections

  5. mary ann storch

    Great ideas! Think most of us know what’s going to happen, but we’d like to know what the end result was.

    January 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    • Mary Ann: Is there something specifically you want to know about in the “end result” report? It would help me as I think about what to include in such posts if you have any specific ideas.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:50 pm

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