February 15, 2018

Communications Lessons from Luke

Reading through Luke this Lent is like sitting with an old friend in front of a fire, reminiscing about people and events that have touched our lives. We smile as we remember the willing Virgin Mary, grateful Elizabeth, awestruck shepherds, spirit-filled Simeon and Anna, and on and on.

Luke’s story full of stories provides ideas for how to communicate to and about our congregations. Newsletters, annual reports, bulletin boards, Facebook posts, can be transformed from the basic “who, what, when and where” to creative reflections that people will enjoy writing/creating, and other people will actually want to read/view.

Lesson One: Introductions, not name tags. Luke draws us into the events leading up to Christ’s birth because he tells us about the people involved, rather than simply providing their names. We get to know them, so we begin to care what happens. Here’s just some of what we are told about Zechariah and Elizabeth. They “were righteous before God;” “they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years;” Zechariah was “serving as a priest before God” and took his turn at serving at the temple.

Not every newsletter article has room for all this detail, but introducing the “characters” builds interest and community. For instance, instead of, “Angie Woods is the Bake Sale Chairperson,” how about, “Angie Woods, mother of three, is happy to extend her love of baking to lead this year’s Bake Sale.”

Lesson Two: “Why” matters. Luke’s stories include glimpses of the impact of ministry, which reveals why the experiences were significant. For instance, Luke tell us about how the shepherds were impacted by events surrounding their visit to the manger. They were so excited they returned to their duties, “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”

Imagine applying this lesson to a newsletter update about desired renovations to worship space. An article might say that ceiling panels will be replaced to improve acoustics. Or, in Luke’s tradition, it might read: “New ceiling panels will make our worship and praise reverberate in our hearts and rise to God in glory, instead of falling flat.” Wow! When can I contribute to that?!

As you read through the book of Luke as part of the Good Book Club this year, watch for lessons that will enliven your communications ministry with creative stories about people and the significance of their experiences.

This blog is part of a series for the Good Book Club. Learn more about the Good Book Club here.