“It makes sense to promote and publicise Christian initiatives properly, so that it can bring greater glory to God, and more people’s lives can be positively impacted.”
Marcia Dixon shares how churches and Christian organisations can utilise communication channels to let the world know how faith in God is impacting lives and communities
Christians have a God-given mandate to spread the Gospel throughout the world, to let people know about their good works so that God can be glorified, and to contend for the faith against those who oppose it.
Actually, anyone involved in spreading, sharing and defending the Gospel – whether as a Christian, gospel artist, head of ministry, part of a church, or worker in a para-church organisation – needs to find effective ways to communicate why and what they believe, what they do, and how the activities they undertake impact the lives of individuals as well as the wider community.
It’s imperative for Christians to be proactive in demonstrating what they can do. The Bible demands it of us. Matthew 5:16 states: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Church leaders, such as TD Jakes, Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo and Rev Les Isaac, can be numbered amongst the many Christians who are successfully utilising PR strategies to touch the world with the Good News of Jesus. The great thing, though, is that any individual/Christian organisation can do the same. Businesses use PR strategies all the time to achieve their goals, and Christians can, too, without selling their souls in the process.
This world is filled with individuals, whose lives have been touched, changed and transformed because Christians took the time to reach them, and to convey the Gospel in a way others could receive it, whether through word, deed or by providing a specific service.
It makes sense to promote and publicise Christian initiatives properly, so that it can bring greater glory to God, and more people’s lives can be positively impacted. In these great, technological times we live in, there are so many communication channels that can be used to get the message out.
Take the recent case of Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers footballer, who collapsed with a heart attack whilst playing against Tottenham Hotspur in March. He did not breathe for 78 minutes. Not only did the story hit every single media channel available, but a message tweeted by his fiancée – ‘God is in control’ – made the front page of some national newspapers, and got the whole country praying for his recovery. Fabrice is now out of hospital, and is deemed by some to be a walking miracle.
There are communication channels available to enable Christians to get their message out, and churches interested in utilising the principles of PR/marketing to effectively engage with the wider community need to ask themselves the following questions:
WHAT MESSAGE DO I WANT TO COMMUNICATE?
There are various pieces of information your church/ministry might want to share and communicate to the wider world. For instance, do you want to encourage more people to attend your church? Are you launching a new social project? Have you organised a series of special events for the local community? Do you want to raise funds for an overseas project? You need to decide what information your organisation wants to get out there – and share.
WHO NEEDS TO HEAR MY MESSAGE?
Once you’ve decided upon your message, the next step is to ascertain who you want to communicate your message to, ie. who is your target audience? For example, is the special event your church is organising aimed at young people? And your soon-to-be-launched social project, who will it help? Victims of domestic violence, the disabled, pensioners or business people? The target audience you want to reach will determine which communication method you use.
WHAT’S THE BEST MEDIUM TO COMMUNICATE MY MESSAGE?
The last stage of implementing your PR strategy is deciding which tools you are going to use to reach your target audience.
Thankfully, there are a whole host of communication channels that can be used. There are media channels which give access to a wide audience via TV, radio, the Internet or press media, and social media, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Bebo and Flickr. You can put on events such as conferences, meetings, workshops, seminars, launches and receptions to get your message across. Or you can produce CDs, DVDs, e-books, leaflets, brochures or newsletters. The medium you choose will be dependent on the message you have to share; the target audience you want to reach, and your budget.
Christians, who want to have an even greater impact on their communities, need to wise up to the diverse opportunities offered for them to communicate who they are, what they do, and the ‘Man Upstairs’ whom they serve, via the various media channels available. They do themselves – and God – a great disservice if they don’t use them.
Marcia Dixon is editor of Keep The Faith and runs a PR consultancy to help churches and Christian organisations effectively communicate and promote their initiatives.