The tagline on the Echo Conference website refers to itself as the “media and tech conference for creative church leaders.” If I was to tag this year’s conference I would say, “Helping church communicators realize the importance of becoming better storytellers.”
Keynote speaker Donald Miller discussed the engagement that the right story can create in people’s lives and the fruit that this engagement will produce. We have to become better storytellers and introduce altruistic outcomes for our people to work toward. This injection of purpose in the organization creates a strong motivation that statistically creates a more productive and energized culture.
Stuff Christians Like blogger Jonathan Acuff mentioned the importance of “surprise” when you engage your network. We need to reframe the “same old” information that our audience is expecting to be packaged a certain way and thus make your content sticky again. Using ancient ideas, the onus is on us as church communicators to package them in such a way that the listeners do not expect. When this happens they are less likely to quickly categorize information and dismiss it as being previously heard. The ideas becomes sticky.
COLLIDE magazine editor and Echo organizer Scott McClellan covered the power of story to engage. Blaine Hogan—who is the “experience engineer” at Willow Creek Community Church—broke-down discovering your own story. Video guru Matt Knisely and I spoke on communicating visual stories and how it infuses motivation and purpose in our churches. The desire to mobilize people to give and serve is not about asking and begging people to show up or write the check. Draw maps so people can visualize their involvement and tell stories to people about how doing “x” can change their lives. Stories help people visualize the outcomes we all desire and step out in action. Stories moves and affect people.
I love this conference for two main reason: The inspiring voices and the growing community of creatives that are working together. Story of course is just a part of the “Big Idea” shared this year but seems to be a resonating idea among many of the speakers. Combine this inspiring instruction with the practicality of many of the other breakouts such as “One Hour Website” from developer Ben Jordan and you have a conference that is truly helping the church and the world.
How are you using story in your church to help engage people in their calling? What mechanisms are in place at your local church to capture, produce and share story?
At the local church I work in stories are soon becoming the backbone of all of our communications. Consider your communication pieces and mediums and how stories are being integrated. Check out some of the above mentioned creatives and consider mapping your own storytelling strategy.
But there’s one day of Echo left, so be sure to follow the #echo10 hashtag on Twitter for the latest comments and quotes.