The Center for Church Communication, our nonprofit parent, just finished unveiling our 2010 Firestarters: Churches all over the nation that are excelling in the field of church communication. It has been so encouraging to see the different ways God’s Spirit moves and works among his people. Firestarter is our attempt to capture some of that creativity and use it as inspiration.
Each of the Firestarters brings something unique that stands out. Whether it’s a unique love for the community the church is located in, an ability to capture beauty, or an efficient and effective way to communicate with church members, each Firestarter is fanning the flames of the gospel in noticeable ways.
We think these churches have something to teach us. We want to take a quick peek into the lives of these Firestarters and share what we see. With that, here’s a list of some things your church can take away from this year’s Firestarters:
Have a Barbecue
Don’t be afraid to take those sacred cows and turn them into hamburgers for you and your team to dine on. Throw a picnic even! Bring the whole church. This year’s Firestarters weren’t afraid to look at “the way things have always been done” and make some tweaks. A sacred cow says, “How are we going to pay the mortgage?” A Firestarter like WaterFront Community Church says, “We’re going to give away 100% of our offering to help build and beautify our community.”
Embrace Your City
The Gateway Church in Des Moines is a perfect example of a church embracing its city. Gateway seeks to contextualize the gospel for the Des Moines culture. They do this by meeting in the heart of city on Sunday mornings and being active in the out-and-about community. Simply put, they love the city and people of Des Moines well. Can the same be said of your church? Is your church know for the help, guidance and love you bring to your community? That’s what a Firestarter does.
When Bloom set out to design their communication and promotional pieces, they knew they had one chance to really get it right. They bypassed the clip art and Word templates and invested time and effort into creating a stunning visual campaign that clearly identified the vibe they wanted. It worked. Firestarters have a desire to do things with excellence. Excellence is different than perfectionism. Perfectionism is never satisfied no matter the result. Excellence takes whatever is around and makes the absolute best out of it with the ability to “let go.” Firestarters pursue excellence.
If you aren’t talking about your church on Twitter or Facebook, someone is. Firestarters get this. They know that they need to be a part of the social Web, leveraging the sheer connective power that’s just a few clicks away. Park Community Church gets this. So does The Chapel, both in Chicago. They’ve both used social media to build a culture in their churches that blurs the line between offline and online. Their people are connected with each other even when they’re not physically together. It build community in their churches and it shows. Firestarters know this and find ways to enter the social media stream.
What’s your church doing to create gospel sparks in the world? How are you fanning the flames of the good news? What creative efforts are you making to translate the gospel in a culturally relevant way? Firestarters obsess over these questions and it shows.
Stay tuned. We’re always on the look our for Firestarters. Keep doing what God has gifted you to do. Keep communicating. Keep clarifying. Keep dreaming. But most of all, keep starting creative fires!