Scott McClellan is the editor of COLLIDE magazine, which is discontinuing its print version and will soon be rolled into the Echo Conference, for which Scott is also the director. You can learn more about Scott from his site or follow his latest exploits on Twitter.
You held another successful Echo conference this summer. What was your biggest takeaway from the event?
Scott McClellan: For all the talk about the problems (and decline) of the American Church, Echo reminded me of an old Mark Twain quip: “The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” The energy, creativity, passion and faith of the church leaders at Echo is by no means exclusive to Echo, but I came out of this year’s event excited about the future of the local church.
You’re on the leadership team for Tapestry, an adoption ministry at your church. Are there any communication lessons from your adoption experience that the church could learn from?
Scott: Our journey to adopt our daughter taught my wife and I to tell our story as it was happening—when we were hopeful, when we were anxious and when it looked like things were coming to an unceremonious end. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it takes faith to tell a story before you’re sure there will be a happy ending. But it’s the conflict, the adversity, and the suspense that draw people into your story and invite them to walk it with you.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve seen churches do to communicate in the past year?
Scott: This might sound a little odd, but I’ve genuinely enjoyed the way many churches are breathing new life into good old-fashioned testimony videos by treating them like short films. Instead of talking heads in front of out-of-focus fire places, I’m seeing churches pair beautiful cinematography and music with the beautiful stories God is telling in their congregations. Rather than abandon a form that has been around for a while, people are pushing the limits of the form—I love that.
You come across all kinds of interesting stories as the editor of COLLIDE magazine. What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve seen from a church?
Scott: I’ve seen a lot of bizarre things over the last few years, but I have to say that I was presented with an alarming number of church parodies of Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back.” Call me crazy, but I don’t think a pastor wearing sunglasses and singing, “I’m bringing tithing back…” prompted many people to reach for their checkbooks.
What do you see down the road for CFCC specifically and church communication in general?
Scott: I see the CFCC becoming more and more active in facilitating the exchange of ideas and best practice among church communicators—a noble cause if I’ve ever heard one. As for the future of church communication in general, my hope is communicators far and wide will be sharpened by increased exposure (via CFCC and other initiatives) to what’s good and what’s bad in the world of church communication. In other words, I hope we use the Internet to raise the bar for church communication, particularly in terms of aesthetics, authenticity, clarity, and fidelity to the message and values of the gospel.