Thursday, 30 July 2009

Front Page News

About 34,000 homes this week will have a copy of The Shrewsbury Chronicle.

On the front page, you will find this "exclusive" news about a local Church.

We would have had a photo too but a smiling 81 year old butcher stole that spot!

I think it is excellent on so many levels
  • We want to tell our story
  • The Church is newsworthy
  • There are clear benefits for people outside the Church
  • The people of God are generous
  • The Church is engaging with modern culture/media/technology
I think positive media exposure is really important when it comes to our public profile within the town, so I am really pleased with this!

3 comments:

Huw said...

Interesting article in the Chronicle, I reckon. Interesting that it mever mentions the gospel, Jesus, desire to reach people with Jesus' love or anything except the kit we want to buy and our own things we want to do. OK, so let's give the centre the benefit of the doubt and say the the SC edited the interview HEAVILY. The church is not the story - Jesus is, and how we share him. Sorry if this seems harsh, but it made me cross!

Blue, with a hint of amber said...

That is a useful perspective Huw.

I think context is important. This is not an advert we control the content of. The "news" is what is happening, and what is happening in the eyes of the newspaper are the practicalities.

Interesting that it mever mentions the gospel, Jesus, desire to reach people with Jesus' love

Not many of the press stories about Christian groups / the Church do actually mention these things directly. I would suggest they are probably assumed, rather than forgotten. I think the benefit of a news story like this is making public the fact we exist. I do agree that a statement like "We want to continue expressing Jesus' love to our town" could have improved the story.

Later in the newspaper there were photos of kids at the Shrewsbury Town open day holding the FA Cup. The aim of Shrewsbury Town is to have a successful team and although the visit fo the FA Cup does not actually do anything directly to that goal, the awareness and positive message portrayed in the news story is still worthy having, because it helps to build towards the overall goal.

or anything except the kit we want to buy and our own things we want to do

It does not just mention us. It mentions 10% of the money was given away, and that lots of other community groups use the facilities. So the money was shared and the kit will be shared. Lots of people will benefit from the generosity of the Church.

The church is not the story - Jesus is

The front page of our website says "We are Christians who love Jesus and want to share His love." For most people interested in the Church, finding out more, or using the Centre facilities that will be one of the first things they see.

In many ways, certainly in this culture, "the church" is a key factor in the outward expression of "the story" of Jesus, and His work both in us and through us.

If you take something like the Alpha Course the first few weeks are almost entirely devoted to Jesus: He certainly is the message.

That said, the activity of the Church is local, relevant and newsworthy, and provides a public interest and awareness that can help us share the message of Jesus. I think both are valid.

When Jesus said to Saul "Why do you persecute me" He was not making such a distinction between His followers and Himself.

I do agree that Jesus is the story. But people being aware that His followers exist is a useful starting point in making that known, which is what a positive press story can help with.

Jongudmund said...

The church is not the story - Jesus is, and how we share him.

Not a very high ecclesiology there then.

You oculd say the church is the story in that the Church is how Jesus interacts with the world. Christ's body and all that. So any story about a church is in effect a story about Jesus.

(Which in turn is a warning not to drag the Church's name through the mud by what we do in any given church.)