11 Ways to Revolutionize Church Communications

I was recently appointed by Bishop Trimble to serve a Jurisdictional Representative to the General Council on Communication for the United Methodist Church. A huge honor and responsibility. I just finished filling out a survey that will help to set the agenda for the meeting which will happen next month in Austin. This list came out of my responses.

Disclaimer: I’m not a GCoC insider, but I do pay close attention to the outputs of their inner workings. It’s with that prospective that I make this list.

1. Go Lean to Anticipate Change. Large structures and hierarchies are dead weight when things move at the speed of facebook.

2. Turn Administrators into Facilitators. If you are not directly supporting the work of congregations then your structure isn’t lean enough to adapt to technological changes.

3. Empower Congregants to the be the Content Creators. There is very little reason to actually produce content at the global/national level. Instead, we should be creating systems that allow our average United Methodist to be the reporters and rewards them for doing so.

4. Create Incubators and Maker Spaces. This is a way those administrators can transition to being facilitators. We need resource centers, both local and virtual, that empower congregants to gather together and run with their visionary ideas.

5. Double Down on Internet Technologies. If we think we’re truly invested, I have some bad news to share.

6. Flip the Script from Print to Digital. Every church everywhere that is engaged in print media is likely doing so at the exclusion of younger generations and unchurched. It’s to the point where we’re hanging onto our print media because of a shrinking minority. The medium is the message, and this message tells me that we are excluding the very people we proclaim to want to reach.

7. Think Mobile First. It’s simple, more people access the internet on mobile devices now than on traditional computers. Websites should be built for mobile first, and then for desktop.

8. Be Convergent. Our best centers of communication now exist in the public sphere. We need to promote issues that the “little c” catholic church can rally around. This well help people to see the light of God at work by unifying our efforts.

9. Provide Free “Everything” Software.  It’s time to buck the status quo set by the big church management software companies, a 200 million dollar industry. We have the power to create intuitive, web based tools at a cost that we could offer it to our people for free. These tools = ministry, yet your average church can’t afford them. We can do a better job here.

10. Start Failing in order to Learn. Do, then learn; not plan, then measure. The latter doesn’t move fast enough to keep pace with technology.

11. Look Outward. We spend a lot of time of visioning from our own perspectives, but we rarely take time to benchmark what’s working for other people and learning from them. In addition, we have a hard time empathizing with people who are outsiders. Jesus gave them priority, we should to.

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