Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nobody Told Me!

I recently had the joy of talking about the LIFT project with folks at the SE Iowa Synod Assembly. The people who attended the workshops were enthusiastic about the work of this task force...and simultaneously frustrated that they didn't know much about it. Despite the best efforts of the people working with the LIFT task force, it seems that very few ELCA pewsitters are aware that the Church Council is initiating a conversation about the future of our denomination.

In the midst of these discouraged and frustrated people, I blurted out this unfiltered statement:

Just because organizations suck at communication doesn't mean they don't want you to know just means they suck at communication.

In other words, if you don't know about something, it doesn't mean there's a conspiracy or cover-up. It may just mean organizations are not doing a good job of navigating the turbulent waters in a vast ocean of communication methods.

For example, in my corner of the world, it's virtually impossible for me to have no awareness of the LIFT project...but I am a church employee who is constantly checking Facebook and Twitter. LIFT has a rather prominent presence in those places...which does very little for people who don't work in churches and don't own a computer or cell phone.

Some suggested that this problem would be solved if "the ELCA" would just mail a copy of the LIFT charter and discussion questions to each congregation. It might. Others would argue that this approach isn't cost effective, and that few (if any) additional people would participate if something was sent via snail mail. Who knows.

The bottom line is that most organizations are struggling with their methods of engagement. If anyone has experienced success with ways to effectively communicate with a diverse audience, I'd love to hear about it!

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