THERE is something oddly counter-intuitive about a 250-page book devoted to “communicating church in a digital culture”. Perhaps this should have been an app, a dedicated website, an interactive social-media platform, or a series of “how-to” videos with related podcasts and email bulletins.
But no, because this eye-catching and colourful guide packed with bullet points, full-page photos, short paragraphs, highlighted text, and a great deal of white space works well. It gives an accessible strategic introduction to missional communications in a digital world.
Mark Crosby, communications director for Vineyard churches in the UK and Ireland, writes of the “seismic shift from traditional media and printing presses to a digital culture in which information is instant and connection is a finger swipe away”.
In the early chapters, Crosby carefully lays the foundation for deciding what a specific church should be communicating. He looks at vision and values, prayerful planning, strategy, understanding your audience, and speaking their language.
It is only then — at page 133, to be exact — that Crosby gives a “toolkit”, listing all the ways in which a church might communicate, from social media, videos, and websites to email, magazines, and information sheets. He then gives helpful advice on how each of these can be used.
In my experience, many churches skip the tough, time-consuming questions related to vision, values, and strategy — and go straight to designing a new church logo or revamping their magazine.
This is a book for a PCC to study at an away day, or a deanery chapter to examine together. It asks important questions about the part played by a church in its community, its vision and priorities, and how it seeks to relate to local people.
Crosby underlines how communications should be a strategic discipline, operating at the core of a church’s mission and ministry — and not an afterthought once all the important decisions have been taken.
The Revd Peter Crumpler is a Self-Supporting Minister in St Albans, and a former Director of Communications at Church House, Westminster.
So Everyone Can Hear: Communicating church in a digital culture
Church Times Bookshop £9