I worked in communications for a relatively large church in Fort Myers, FL. I’ve seen how a concerted communications strategy based on storytelling can strengthen a church. I’ve seen first-hand how people are connected through stories, how healing takes place, and how people’s faith in God is restored because someone was tapped on the shoulder and asked, “What’s going on with you? What’s your story?”
People will come out of their shells and share some of their deepest and most closely held stories if they are convinced in just the right way. This book will show you how to do this.
Here’s a fundamental belief that I disagree with. I call it The Fallacy of Success.
How do you measure the success of your church? I assume you believe that growth is necessarily a good thing. I’d say it’s not.
So how are you measuring the success of your church? If it’s just by quantity of members, that’s a fallacy. Number of sacraments? Fallacy.
Amount of money donated? Also a fallacy. Number of blankets knitted for the homeless? Nope.
I’m not going into the biblical reasons why these measurements are misnomers, but they are.
The measure of success of a church is in the quality of people’s relationships with the people in their lives. On any given day, how are they giving and receiving love?
Later I will explain how I came up with this definition, but for now I’ll assure that it’s not my own. I borrowed it from some people who saved my life, and I believe to the depth of my soul that this is the best barometer for success in a person.
God would be cruel if He left our happiness up to anything in the material world.
Why is it when a church grows people assume it’s because its members are getting closer to God? Roughly 80% of churches have either plateaued in membership or are declining. Generally, churches grow because of a geographic area’s population growth. It’s an “all boats rising with the tide” situation.
Either that, or the extraordinarily charismatic Pastor has achieved some degree of local celebrity. But don’t get me wrong, I do believe that the growing “mega-church” phenomenon is a good thing (albeit not a Catholic thing.) My point is, merely measuring the number of new registrations week after week is a superficial way to gauge your church’s success.
If you’re a Pastor of a church, you already know this. This is probably the reason you picked up this book. One of my best friends is the pastor of a large church, and the demand for his time and “services” far outweighs the supply. He needs help! He knows that no matter how much time and spiritual direction he gives to the people in his office every day, it will never be enough. He is only one man. And to face facts, he’s unqualified to help more than half the people that walk through the door. That’s not a slight against him, it’s just the truth.
Addiction, divorce, financial strife, trouble with the law? No one is qualified to handle all these problems – but each of these problems does have a spiritual component.
If there were a way he could somehow connect the people in need, with the people that had the right brand of experience and spirituality within the walls of his Parish, the reach of his ministry would multiply! Just imagine how many more people he could help if he had a system that could mitigate the deficit between the supply and demand on his time? What would that be worth?
Continue reading this book and you will find out. By the end of reading this book, you will know the tools, techniques and rationale for incorporating more storytelling into your Church’s sermons, mission, and communications materials (i.e. website, podcast, vlog, social media, etc.). Don’t panic if those terms make you nervous. This book will break everything down to its simplest form. You will be provided education on my website, links to affordable products that will help you achieve your storytelling goals, and tutorials that sift through the ocean of information and deliver just what you need to be effective.
I have personally done everything I’m going to explain in this book. I’ve never coded and entire website, worked on a Hollywood set, or written a NY Times bestseller. But I’ve helped hundreds of people tell stories that have had remarkable ripple effects in the world.
The end goal for all Churches is the same: Bring people closer to God and reduce unnecessary suffering. No matter what denomination you are, no matter what holy book you ascribe to, no matter what commandments your particular church adheres to, we all believe that God wants us to love one another more fully – and we cannot do that without getting to know the people sitting next to us on Sunday (or Saturday, or Wednesday, etc.).
In this book, I will teach you how to do that tactfully, with the technology and media that are accessible to everyone.
Most of the tools you will use are extremely low cost, if not free, so this will not involve a huge financial investment.
If you implement some of these practices in your Church, you will be helping people grow in their faith.
In any new endeavor there is risk. We all fear embarrassing ourselves publicly, or being judged less than by people who we respect. I get that. I really do. And this is why I’m writing this book.
You probably already understand that your church needs an online communications strategy, but you don’t know where to start, and you don’t want to chase an expensive rabbit down a hole. I wrote this book to help you avoid the “rookie mistakes” that I made during the first year of my ministry. But more than that, I wrote it because of the enormous impact these stories had on my own spiritual maturation.
I want that for you and your congregation. Get it here.