Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Life

Transformational Stories

from June 11, 2007
Transformational Stories from Home – Crossroads

You already know the subject of this – after attending a Net Results workshop on evangelism, we started a quarterly newsletter for the community. We were very intentional to keep “church” stuff out of it – our goal wasn’t to bring in new people, but to build connections between the church and people in the community. So we aimed to focus our articles on subjects of general interest to anyone who might pick this newsletter up.

We sent it out four times a year – just before Easter, the beginning of summer, just before school started, and just before Christmas. We had them inserted into the local paper – we were in a small county that had a weekly paper, so we decided to have this included in all the issues printed for the county (not those mailed away) – that was bout 3000 copies. The local paper did the printing and folding for us at a very reasonable cost. The size was 17×11 folded in half. (If you are in a larger county or city, you can ask the paper just to put it in papers that go to specific zip codes. Check with you paper for how they do this and pricing.)

We intentionally did not put any religious articles in it, nor did we use it to announce coming events at the church. In fact the only “church” announcement we had was a small box with the worship times and the phrase “Everyone is welcome.” For the pre-Christmas and pre-Easter newsletters, we did put in just a little piece explaining what Christmas and Easter are. The church logo and slogan was “Lighting the way home,” so we did have that on the newsletter. Otherwise, we had a mix of articles in each edition – some on leadership, some on favorite recipes, some on what to do to help your child get ready for his/her first day of school, gardening, book review, and such. We found out what hobbies and skills members of the church had and would ask them to write an article about it. We called it “Crossroads.”

The response surprised even us. We got phone calls and letters from people saying how much they appreciated it, and requests for it to be mailed, because people didn’t want to miss one. Mostly, we got notes and calls from people who just said thank you.

What was the end result of it? We built bridges into the community, the church got known for being a good community member, and generally good feelings were generated. Did we get any new members from it? No – but then again – that wasn’t the goal! It did help when our members were out somewhere and mentioned where they went to church, people would say “you’re the ones who put that newsletter in the local paper!”

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