Is there a better way?
Why does so much ministry feel like re-inventing the wheel? Could we co-operate better to avoid needless duplication?
This thought occurred to me this week as I tried to figure out how to create an email newsletter. We've needed one for some time. But where to begin? Are these things web based or do you buy software? Do you need to design them from scratch or are there customizable templates? How much would it cost? Who would administer it? How could it integrate with our existing database and social media? Who was there in the congregation with the skill set to let me know what the best option was?
Did I really have to figure this out from scratch? A search of Steve Kryger's Communicate Jesus website gave me a quick point in the direction of Mail Chimp. Some gifted graphic people in the congregation put together a mocked up email and we are underway. So something is happening - but wouldn't it be simpler to crank out a diocesan template email newsletter?
Is this just wishful hoping for a cavalry that will not come? Many would argue that local churches just need to get on and develop their own resources. After all, the diocese doesn't have the funds or the ability to provide resources like this at a local level. Anything 'centralised' is viewed with suspicision and not taken up. And so each Parish (and sometimes even each congregation) develops its own website, database, letterheads, logos, signage, accounting, giving system etc.
Imagine though a different model. What if we invested in a email newsletter that any parish could either use straight out of the box or as a tweakable template. What if we had a basic website that any parish could use? Imagine the time that would be saved!
The real winners would be the smaller churches in the diocese. Without the scale of larger churches they will often struggle to develop this kind of infrastructure. Not every church will have a graphic designer or accountant or copy-writer. But together we do have these people. By co-operating more we just might help better equip one another for ministry. I might write something like that on my email newsletter.