A Typical Church Communication Plan

CommoMindMap

I use mind maps to help me remember and relate different ideas. This one is used to relate the communication plan or strategy our church needed to adopt in order to communicate within the congregation after we were forced into a mobile church scenario. I would like to describe how anyone can create this strategy with very little cost and time.

The key to this communication plan is the WordPress website because of its ability to add plug-ins and adhere to internet standards and interfaces. We would register users and create and maintain newsletters. This newsletters would be actual posts to the website and their content would be distributed through email facilitated by these subscriptions.

Email would be one channel that we would communication through. The subscribers would could get a newsletter with content or a link to that newsletter post in their email. These emails would be generated any time a post was published at the website.

The second communication channel would be FaceBook. We had to create a FaceBook fan page to get this going which forced members of the congregation that used FaceBook to “Like” the page in order to see and updates. An update is generated to a fan page for each website post that is published and the FaceBook users would see a link to that posting at the website.

Twitter is a third communication channel that was created for the Twitter users in our midst. Like the FaceBook channel they would receive updates from each website posting. All these users would need to do would be to “follow” a predefined user within Twitter.

The remaining three items that are in the mind map deal primarily with integration with the website.

  • Ministry leaders can communicate within the website in order to tell the congregation or members of that ministry anything new, updates, or events. Since these communications would be website posts the posts would generate information that would be sent out via the three channels we already talked about.
  • External blogs can be maintained separately by church leaders and members. These external blogs would be integrated into the website using RSS into specific pages or posts that would be created or used to facilitate this integration. If these external blogs are WordPress blogs they can automatically generate posting to Twitter and FaceBook similar to the website.
  • RSS can be used to flow the information needed to an RSS aggregator. These aggregators take the information that is on a website and displays it in one place, kind of like a news reader. So if a member of the congregation used an aggregator they could monitor and read any information posted on the website or external blog.

So I hate to tell you this but “anyone can create a communication plan for their church”. All you need is a bit of knowledge on how all of the different internet technologies and products work, can be integrated, and then generate content.

Do you think you could do this for your church?

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I Doubt Thomas Was An Optimist

I just listened to a local pastor reading  through the Bible book of John chapter 11 and teaching that Thomas was acting in a spiritual manner in his response to Jesus. That his thoughts were optimistic and showed great faith because he was willing to die for Jesus. But was that the case?

The disciples did not want to go and visit Lazarus because of the danger that could meet them there.

The disciples said to him, Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again? John 11:8 ESV

Jesus addressed the reason why they should go and Thomas responds to that reasoning.

14 Then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him. 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. John 11:14-16 ESV

If we look at this and other statements in Scripture that Thomas makes after  this one we can better evaluate Thomas and then see that he is not an optimist but a pessimist and even a bit sarcastic.

Thomas did not figure out what Jesus was talking about and expressed the obvious unspiritual tone of the disciples.

2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going. 5 Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? John 14:2-5 ESV

His doubts about Jesus and what the disciples witnessed after the resurrection of Jesus.

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe. 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. 27 Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe. 28 Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God! 29 Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:24-29 ESV

Thomas finally determined that the disciples were not lying to him 8 days later which goes against the whole optimistic spiritual Thomas deal. Because of Thomas’ statements after his first statement in chapter 11 of John, I hate to tell you this but Thomas is a pessimist and not as spiritually renowned as I had heard prior.  Well at least until he sees the resurrected Jesus anyway!

Unfortunately as I reflect on these passages of Scripture I see how I am much more like doubting Thomas, who is pessimistic and sarcastic, than Jesus who does not express doubt due to what his father tells him and is optimistic to the very end.

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Designing a Blog and Website Integration for a Pastor

My pastor recently decided to start blogging. The question then came up about how best to integrate this into the existing website and design. We could have added his blog to our existing WordPress based church web site but that would have added too much complexity to the site and more difficult to manage.

Here is the blog integration design we came up with:

We decided that an external blog would be appropriate in this scenario. The pastor could do whatever he wanted to the blog and it would not affect the church web site. Here is a breakdown of the design:

  • Use WordPress blog – Signed him up for the a free WordPress blog but this could be any blogging software.
  • FeedBurner used to consume the RSS feed from WordPress – I like to use FeedBurner to enforce a standard link name and format.
  • The standardized RSS feed would be consumed by the church web site – We can insert his RSS feed into any page or widget on the site.
  • WordPress blog would be setup to send alerts to FaceBook and Twitter – This will allow everyone to know when he has posted to the blog.
  • Church domain would have blog address added – I added a sub-domain in order for the blog and web site domains to be similar.

I hate to tell you this but anyone can set this up, it is very easy!

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Welcome

The format and methodology of this blog will start with a statement, news entry, quote, Scripture, etc. You will see that the subject matter will swing widely from on to another.

Then there will be the classic line “I hate to tell you this but…” This will be the punch line and the stroke of realistic wisdom that we all need.

I think you understand.

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