It’s More Than Just Staying “Informed”
I’m now in a church that does not have a regular newsletter, nor a heavily used website.  I hear from around the church council table and staff meetings that communication is one of our biggest needs.  The truth is that I was most recently at a church with a monthly newsletter that was very professional and a highly used website and I still heard the same concerns.
Church newsletters are necessary to keep people informed and in today’s world websites are even more important in order to share information, but faith is more than being informed.  It is about being activated.  It is time we stop asking “how do we keep people informed” and begin asking questions like “how do we build community and activate that community?”
Youth know how to use their technology to do such a thing.  Using social networking youth have taken relationship building on-line.  They have found a way to make technology work for them and enrich their relationships.  Some churches and religious organizations have tried to create similar “Christian” communities on-line, but why a separate endeavor.  When Kings were going across the Atlantic ocean to a New World the church did not say, “Well, it is dangerous and there are ‘savages’ there we should go find our own island to create a paradise…”
No.  The church can no longer be in the business of just creating a website and hope that people stumble across it (or even if we advertise it).  We must look at the internet as a new world and begin moving our faith out into that world in a natural but competent way.  If we had pornographers, prostitutes and drug lords moving in to the lots next door we would get activated and take back our community.  It is time for us to get out into the internet and share our faith on-line and “take back the neighborhood.”

Apple, Inc. to purchase Baptist Church for $10 Million
“Sources close to Steve Jobs have confirmed that he is currently in negotiations to buy a local Baptist Church.  When asked his intentions, Jobs reportedly noted that Apple has attracted faithful consumers with deep convictions, but they have not yet determined a way to make Apple a faith.  Jobs hopes that by merging Apple, Inc with a church he might be able to do this.”
Did I get your attention???
Why is it that in the church, these days, we seem to always be one step behind companies and other organizations.  I look at Apple, Inc.  They make lots and lots of money making electronics and yet somehow they have created a deeply committed consumer-base.  They have become exceptional at their communications and advertising and die-hards like me have great loyalty…………to a money-making corporation!?!
How do we create a similar commitment in the church???
I have been thinking about this.  Apple has attemped to never sacrifice quality.  They have always aimed for the best, easiest-to-use, and most attractive computers (note:  during years when Steve Jobs was CEO, but we must ignore the “dark times” for my purposes here).  In order that everything works together flawlessly, Apple has taken a corporate approach that is unmatched anywhere else within or beyond their industry.  Apple makes the hardware, the software, provides the tech support, has created its own .Mac web connectivity service, and makes its own peripherals like iPods. Most importantly they have never been willing to sacrifice quality for price.

This last point is where we have failed.  In the church we think that we have to make church easy in order to get people in the pews, but wherever we have failed to set the expectation of commitment and loyalty we have created apathy and faithlessness.  If we want to re-energize our churches we must start by setting high expectations.  In other words we must not sacrifice quality for price.