Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Life

from June 11, 2007
Reaching Out Through Newsletters

Several years ago one of our Sunday school teachers and I attended a workshop on evangelism, sponsored by Net Results. I don’t remember the title, but I do remember two things. One, we designed a church logo that didn’t require anyone to know what the Presbyterian symbol was all about, and two, we came home with a proposal to start a quarterly newsletter, not for the church, but for the community.

The reality is, most of us have church newsletters that are for “insiders.” Let’s face it, most new people don’t know who Mabel is, nor are they really moved when they hear that her gout is acting up again! Nor, for that matter, do they understand what all of our acronyms are, or what our committees so, or who is invited to the PW salad luncheon. Our newsletters assume a basic level of familiarity with the church and the way it works. They also serve largely as an expanded announcement sheet – announcing things that are coming up, rarely reporting on more than the financial situation of things that have already happened or saying thanks to those who helped.

What would happen if you published a newsletter for non-members? Even better yet, for non-Christians (or pre-Christians, which is becoming a more common term)? One where they didn’t feel like they were missing some key information to understand what we’ve written? One where they didn’t feel like all we were trying to do was get more members, or more people to show up at our events?

I am reminded of a very basic fact of effective evangelism – most people come to church the first time because a friend invited them. Note I said “friend,” not “acquaintance.” To be friend implies that we know each other at other than a surface level, that we care about them, and that we aren’t just fishing for church members.

How can you use a community newsletter to connect with people as people, and friends, first, and as potential Christians or church members second?

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