My job is strange. It’s strange for a whole lot of reasons, but it’s particularly strange when it comes to figuring out how to communicate with different people in the congregation. This is mainly because there are so many different methods of communication and everyone has their preferred method.
I text with high schoolers who would not otherwise respond. I connect with their older siblings through Facebook. I email their parents because that elicits the quickest response. And I have to call their grand-parents on the land line because they have yet to really embrace this whole internet thing.
If I want to get a message to the congregation as a whole some will respond best to a verbal announcement at church. Others will read the bulletin from cover to cover, while others will only recognize it if it comes via email. Some read everything on the bulletin board, while others walk right on by. Many people glean every word from the monthly newsletter and others send it straight to recycling. Still others need a personal phone call, or a letter at home for it to sink in.
On top of all of these forms of communication, I spend significant amounts of time preparing to present Biblical and theological insights through what is rapidly becoming a very strange method of oral communication; which is the sermon.
This is all to say that, while I’m not really on snap-chat or twitter yet, a large part of my job involves being reasonably proficient at an incredibly wide range of methods of communication as well as finding out what methods work for which people.
I point all of this out because I am very excited to announce that we have added a new method of communication for our church. We now have an official church website that is up and running. www.firstcobwichita.org is already up and waiting for you to check it out.
The purpose of the website is essentially twofold, the first of which is that it is our digital front door to people who might be looking to find out more about our church. The analogy that I have used before is that if you told me about a new restaurant that I should try, the very first thing that I would do would be to look up their website and check out their menu. In the same way, if you told me about this church called the First Church of the Brethren, and told me to check it out,the first thing I would do would be to search for their website to learn more about them.
To that end, the new website has several different pages that are meant to give a short taste of our congregation. We have sections about what it looks like for us to engage in the work of ministry, what you can expect when you come on Sunday morning, who the Brethren are, how to contact us, and ways to learn more about all of these things.
The other purpose of the website is to engage our existing congregation in the life of the church. To this end the web-site has the up-to-date church event calendar, sermon
videos, Alan’s Angle blog, current and past bulletins and current and past newsletters.
In the future, the website will also be a place to find out more about current projects or events like the Beyond Tolerance movement or the Community Art and Music Fair. Over time we expect the website to change and grow as we add more content about the life of our church and our community. For example, there may be everything from descriptions of our Christian education programs to sections where people can access church use policies for weddings or other events.
The simplest way to describe the new website is that it is intended to be a doorway that helps connect people, both from within the church and from the community, to the events and life of this congregation. It both expresses some of who we are, as well invites people to come and join the fun of our church!
Will everyone in our congregation wind up using the new website? Of course not. But neither does everyone in our congregation read a hard copy of the newsletter, or check email, or read the bulletin or respond to a phone call. Not only does our congregation continue to grow and change, but the communication methods available to us continue to grow and change as well. The new website is simply one more tool in being able to help our congregation engage better with each other and with the world around us.
Each month for our newsletter Pastor Alan writes a short article on a variety of topics. At times he will also create a video version of the article.