so far #2: public comm not the bomb

Last time, I started noting some of the major trends & adventures of the trip – beginning with ministries’ attempts to better understand the rising generation. Today’s “So Far” is a trend that actually led to some mini-adventures for me!

Benson Ave. & University Pl., Evanston, ILI’ve gotten lost going to church twice on this trip. That low number may be surprising, considering I’ve probably attended about 50 different churches. And if you know me, you know I possess a certain geographical ineptitude.

But, as I’ve mentioned before, my Garmin GPS has been of utmost help on this trip – getting me where I need to go with outstanding accuracy. So when I know a church’s address, I just punch it in and follow my Garmin’s British-female voice to my destination – including all those church stops on Saturday nights, Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and otherwise.

I still got lost twice, however, and in both cases it was because the map I got from the church was actually wrong. Either it was drawn poorly on the flier (with no address for reference) or the address was incorrect (just putting “East” instead of “West” on the street address can make a huge difference!). In the first case, I ended up 10 minutes late to church; in the latter, I walked in with about 5 minutes left in the service! Yikes!

(I told one of the main ministers about that wrong-address issue several weeks ago. It’s still not fixed on the site today. Bummer.)

Obviously, these things happen, and it’s no huge deal to me as I explore these ministries. But they are good examples of one disappointing trend I’ve noticed all Road Trip long: a real lack of great communication from churches and campus-based college ministries. Sure, plenty of ministries provide extensive, accurate info, but those groups kinda seem to be the minority…

On this Road Trip, I’m often doing what any visitor would: relying on fliers I see, web pages I surf, and other forms of public communication. So as I do, I’m really hoping to get “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”!

  • The whole truth means you tell me everything you’ve got planned – and give me as many details as possible!
  • Nothing but the truth means all that info is accurate.

While it’s not exactly a happy trend, I mention these communication difficulties because I saw them a’plenty this semester, and I figure it helps for us to think about it!

I also know it’s tough keeping things updated in the world of collegiate ministry. I’m certainly as guilty as anybody of not always “auditing” my ministries’ public communications like I should have. But since I’ve played the visitor dozens and dozens of times this semester – in campus ministries, college Sunday schools, church services, and so on – “visitor relations” is certainly something I’ve noticed.

So that’s Trend #2. But in hopes that it will help, tomorrow I will post some suggestions on easy ways to improve this. Because while plenty of ministries might be lacking, I’ve seen some real excellent communication out there, as well. [Here is that post.]

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