#Channels: Intro

Westminster

Old houses mean old pipes. We had to have work done on our house’s plumbing recently. A pipe had cracked from the weight of the foundation settling on it, so the plumber had to dig under the house.

He ran into two problems in the midst of his efforts: the first of which was roots. The shovels could only go so far before hitting another huge root, so they needed a reciprocating saw to cut through it to keep digging. The second was the foundation of the house itself; there wasn’t enough space between the old, unbroken pipe and the concrete slab to fit the new coupling on. The resulting need was to use a pneumatic chisel to create space for the new piece.

Two things we can note from this story: new pipes are better than old pipes, and the right tools can make any job much easier. Pastors themselves spend most of their office hours studying commentaries and other resources; office managers command efficiency with spreadsheets, printers, and accountability routines. Communicating well in a digital culture is no different. Apart from computers, cameras, programs, lenses, lights, tripods, etc. there are channels that are needed to distribute anything we create.

The Channels

That’s where the Channels comes in. Our hope is to show you what avenues are available for your church to communicate internally and to the community around it. There are eight times more ways to share information now than there were thirty years ago, but not all of them are relevant or necessarily useful. We’ll cover the fifteen listed below, their primary uses, strengths, and weaknesses within church ministry, as well as a few honorable mentions afterward.

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • SMS
  • Sunday Service
  • Direct Mail
  • Print
  • SEM
  • Website
  • Video
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Voice Calls
  • Word of Mouth

The Main Point

In the same way that a hub supports the spokes on a bicycle tire, a driving idea will keep these basics in place. These are just Channels, just branches, but the message and mission of the Church is the center that holds everything together. Put in another way: digital media channels are useless without something to say. This reality makes it crucial for individual churches to process how they articulate their identity. Every church will have some mission statement that reflects the Great Commission; by virtue of their leadership and denomination; they have core values; and some even have a clear picture of what the Lord has called their church to be five years from now. These channels communicate substance and culture by their very nature, so churches have to be up front and intentional about what kind of culture they have and the kind they want to create.

“This is how local churches can help their people: by reminding them of covenant life wherever they are, whether it be Facebook, their e-mail accounts, their mailbox, or Youtube.”

Culture-making seems fadish and trendy, but there’s some ancient wisdom to be found in the idea of saturating every day life with gospel truths. Take this passage from Deuteronomy 6: You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (7-9 ESV)

The underlying goal is that wherever God’s people turned, they would be forced to consider God’s word. This is how local churches can help their people: by reminding them of covenant life wherever they are. This can be on Facebook, in their e-mail inboxes, in their actual mailboxes, or on Youtube. Sundays are absolutely essential, but they don’t have to be alone; the same message that’s preached on Sunday can be reformatted and injected into people’s daily lives by church leaders utilizing these different opportunities.

We look forward to sharing this living, breathing guide to the Church’s use of digital media.

View the rest in our #Channels series here.


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