Matthew, Mark, and other early Christians wrote frequently about the call to serve as evangelists, sharers of the Good News of God in Christ. It is the Great Commission, our call to “Go therefore and make disciples…” (Mt 28:19), to “Go…and proclaim the Good News to the whole creation.” (Mk 16:15), and it is not easy. What and how we communicate matters, both in our engagement with the world around, and in our common work to join in mission, ministry, and prayer with others.
And yet…communications within the Church are a constant challenge. Congregations struggle to find effective ways to share announcements and updates, emails and electronic newsletters may not be read by most recipients, and tools like videos, blogs, podcasts, and social media all present challenges as well as opportunities. As painful as covid was, it forced us all to move online more quickly, and to engage and adapt technology as a tool for evangelism and congregational support.
The Diocese of New Jersey has sometimes struggled with communications. I recognize this, and I also recognize that the work of diocesan communications is challenging. There are many demands and many opportunities. We have limited resources, of people, skills, and funds. We want to do God’s work, to know our stories and share them boldly, to proclaim the Good News and make disciples. We also want clear and accessible platforms, technology, and graphics, together with timely and appealing updates, in formats everyone can understand. We have not used the available resources to their fullest potential, and our communications practices and strategy have at times fallen short.
It is time for us to review and adapt our diocesan communications practices to provide support for our mission and ministry today and in the years to come. To this end, I am creating a Communications Working Group, comprised of individuals from across the Diocese of New Jersey. This group will work with me to assess our resources and challenges, develop and support a diocesan communications strategy, and provide ongoing guidance for staff and ministry leaders alike.
If you have gifts and skills in communications, if you have a professional background in this area, or if you have interest and insights to offer, I invite you to apply to join the Communications Working Group by filling out this form.
In addition to the creation of the Communications Working Group, I would also like to hear from members of the Diocese of New Jersey on the topic of communications. If you would like to share your insights about communications for today’s church, your experiences, concerns, or questions, please join me and members of the new Communications Working Group for a Zoom conversation on Wednesday, September 6 or Thursday, September 28, both from 7:00–8:00 pm. A zoom link and additional information will be available soon.
Friends, this ministry is so important. I look forward to hearing from you as we begin to strengthen our Communications offerings. May God bless us in this work.
The Rt. Rev. Sally French
Bishop of New Jersey