Last weekend many news feeds we flooded with news of white nationalist in Charlottesville, Virginia rallying and others protesting the rally. It ended in deaths and arrests and many angry, sad and feeling hopeless in a race tense society.
Being as it happening at the beginning of the weekend, churches had a choice to make, some churches decided to respond – to say anything to help to a hurting world. On the other hand, others did not respond. I don’t want to assume why they may have decided not to mention it in their services, but one thing was made very clear: in a world with evil all around, we need to take every chance to vocalize love.
We saw many Public Relations examples before us, from politicians to late night hosts to corporations. These are people of influence who needed to respond and we can learn from them. Here are 3 lessons the church can use:
#1 Don’t not respond
The church is meant to be a community, and we often are great champions of this. I know many churchgoers who were disappointed to not hear any comforting words relating to how they were feeling that weekend. A major takeaway from last weekend is Jesus is relevant in every current event, but it’s our job to present His hope, grace, and mercy any chance we have. Our response is only perceived as genuine when the response is relevant. Timing is key.
#2 It’s ok to be real
Those near to the events, whether in proximity or sentiment are raw with emotion. Your response will resonate if you speak to their vulnerability. This is where the church can shine, just by being real and connecting with those in your congregation who are actually hurting and needing comfort.
#3 Mind the gap
You create a gap with your audience if you neglect #1 and #2 We can’t claim to serve our communities if we don’t join their conversation when it really matters. Your congregation can feel the disconnect when we’re late to the scene. Christ often mended the gap of unbelief with his timeliness and his genuine proximity. He connects with people because He cares. He cares because He wants to connect with people.
Having A Plan
Every church should have a plan on how it wants to communicate in case of a relevant event. Even if your church doesn’t have a Communications Director, help your volunteers win when they know what the goal and plan is.