For more than 20 years, I have served missions in communications. Over that time, I discovered that the job of a missions communicator is more than just getting stories of missions out or making materials to promote a mission organization’s vision and programs. An essential part of our work also fits into WEA Global Member Care Network Coordinator Harry Hoffman’s category of “people helpers” – a group Harry explains is an untapped ocean of resources to care for staff in the missions community.
The core of any good communication efforts is thinking about your audience. The world has changed. Communicators today have the privilege and responsibility to communicate to a highly globalized and therefore very complex audience but also, with increased access to the internet, to reach a very wide audience within a very short time in every part of the world – from the most largest most modernized cities to the most reserved and secluded corners of the world.
Technical expertise in media production and clear messaging is fundamental to successful external communication. However, this success will not stand if an organisation’s internal culture is not aligned. Messages both internally and externally must be synchronized and consistent.
Mission organizations fail to inspire the whole Church to join in God’s mission because they continue to undervalue and under-resource the contributions of missions journalists. But if they took journalism as a serious means of global education, it would radically shift global Church engagement in God’s mission.
Missions journalists “are an unseen force which remains largely unrecognized, misunderstood and undervalued,” yet the global Church desperately needs to develop a coherent, global narrative of God at work in the world today through missions.
What difference does working together make? Does it even matter? Those are some of the questions explored in the latest issue of Evangelical Missions Quarterly.
“I know how you can tell this story,” I said to a colleague with a smile. “Someone did something that made a positive change among some group of people in some country, and it’s so amazing everyone needs to know about it!”
In 2012 I took a media team to a country in central Africa to get stories about Bible translation projects in the country. We stayed in a guesthouse at an educational institution, and nearby was a school for the students’ children.