Archives For communication

Have you thought much about how the church is presented in the media, particularly from the perspective of PR (Public Relations)?

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In this post I draw your attention to an interesting article over at PR Week website where David Benady looks at what “four major religions are doing to keep themselves relevant to an increasingly secular and critical society.” He looks at The Church of England, Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism and how they have set themselves up (in the UK) to respond to the media.

Below I highlight a few points of particular interest to me from the article and I ask two questions that you might like to ponder around this issue of how the church is represented in the media. If this interests you I suspect you’ll find the original article called Spreading the word worth a read.

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I don’t actually care about the movie that has kept the internet buzzing over the last week. What I care to write about is how the church is perceived in society, and issues of communication around this. What I have observed this week from the Christian perspective could fit into my series on cringe communication from the church.

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Headlines like “Fifty Shades of Grey is sign of apocalypse – Dallas pastor”, and a Cincinnati Archbishop saying the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie is a “direct assault on Christian Marriage and on the moral and spiritual strength of God’s people.” Also, requests for families to boycott the film have left me wondering how many R18 movies families usually go and see? Continue Reading…

2015 lineup

11 February, 2015 — 8 Comments

My hiatus from writing is over and I’m again aiming for weekly posts. The last two months have been full including visits to Bangladesh, India, and Thailand to see what New Zealand Baptists are doing there. I finished being a pastor in Christchurch New Zealand after my position was made redundant. I had a break in Motueka and walked through the best bit of New Zealand: the Abel Tasman National Park, and ten days ago I shifted to Auckland.

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I’ve had plenty on my mind to write about, and here’s a list of 19 things I plan to engage with over the next few months, most of which fit within the themes of communication, church and society, in no particular order: Continue Reading…

Many people living in New Zealand would have noticed church signs or billboards, often advertising events like the Alpha course, and sometimes displaying pithy one-liners or puns that suggest the reader of the sign is a sinner going to hell unless they go to a church service on Sunday.

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This is another post in a series where I give some real-life true stories of what I call cringe communication from the church. Click here for the introduction to this series where I basically say I believe we can improve the communication of the church by eliminating cringe communication. Continue Reading…

I have surveyed 1079 people asking them to respond to thirteen statements about the church and Christians (in New Zealand). The statements are based on the results of my recent PhD research. There are striking differences between what Christian people think and those who are not Christian, but there are a couple of surprising results that break the usual comparison pattern between these two groups. I believe the information visually shown by the graphs below is of critical importance to 21st century missiology: how the church engages with society.

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In an earlier post I described one way to think of communication as being the establishment of common ground in terms of shared understanding. If there is no common ground, there is an inability to reach shared understanding, which means there will be an inability to communicate effectively. Continue Reading…

In 2012 a private members bill was put forward in New Zealand called the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. This was passed in April 2013 allowing same-sex marriage. I believe the dominant church response to this bill in the public sphere was an example of bad communication.

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This is another post in a series where I give some real-life true stories of what I call cringe communication from the church. The first one was called Cringe communication #1: Student survey tricksters where I introduce this series and basically say I believe we can improve the communication of the church by eliminating cringe communication.

I want your feedback: do you agree that my example in this post about same-sex marriage is bad communication? Or communicates the church in a bad way to those outside the church. If not why not? Vote in the poll below and feel free to comment. Continue Reading…

This is the start of a blog series where I will give some real-life true stories of what I call cringe communication from the church. I want your feedback: do you agree that my example is bad communication? If not why not? You can vote in the poll below.

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I believe that the way people outside the church see the church has a massive impact on their understanding and appreciation of and for the church. This then affects any possible engagement with the church and the story of the church (or using in-house speak: the gospel). All of this comes down to communication, in particular communication from particular church representatives to those outside of the church (the society in which we live). I believe we can improve the communication of the church by eliminating cringe communication. Continue Reading…

In November 2012 I gave the Baptist Research lecture at the annual Baptist Assembly (The Gathering) which was held in Hamilton, New Zealand. The recording of this lecture has recently been put online. If you’d like to hear me give an introduction to my PhD research, click the image below to have a listen – it will take you to the Resonate website that also contains the PowerPoint from my talk.

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The Resonate website is a storehouse of mainly sermons recorded at many different churches around New Zealand. Baptist Research have a few lecture recordings on Resonate and I list them below:
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I read an article last week in which I saw parallels with the church context so thought I would write about the same topic. The article by Olga Kahzan in The Atlantic is titled: “The Easiest Possible Way to Increase Female Speakers at Conferences.” The quick summary is: having just one woman on the organizing committee for a conference greatly increases the likelihood of women appearing at the front of the room.

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The contribution of women is a topic that concerns me because I am part of a Christian ‘movement’ that struggles with this: the New Zealand Baptist Church. This also appears to be a widespread problem for the church in general. Three points come to mind and I outline them below. Continue Reading…

The city I live in is recovering from a series of earthquakes that began three years ago. It’s a long slow grind. Earthquakes damage a city’s infrastructure, such as roads, and the sewers and water pipes that are mostly hidden deep below the road surface. Christchurch post-earthquakes has been riddled with orange road cones to highlight damage and repairs in progress. In June last year there were 100,000 road cones in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million. A day doesn’t go by without seeing many of them, they are a part of life here.

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This photo is a simple nativity scene made of road cones. Local artist Pete Majendie from the Side Door Arts Trust has placed this pregnant Mary and Joseph upon a pile of rubble on the corner of a busy intersection. The pile of rubble was once an historic church building.

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