Over 34 delegates from across the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales arrived in Leeds on Thursday afternoon for a communications training session to help them think about what their church says to the outside world.
The training, called ‘what does your church say?’, was a free session delivered by CPO (Christian Publishing Outreach) and was designed to give practical tips and advice to help churches face up to the challenge of making the most of external communications in this noisy world.
Laura Treneer from CPO, who led the training, said: “It was a real privilege to hear stories of how churches are reaching out to their communities.
“Our external signage and websites are our shop window too so this session has helped us here at CPO to think how we can help churches better.
“It was great to see everyone sharing ideas and get inspired," she added.
Over 90 per cent of delegates gave the training either a 4 or 5 out of 5 - One delegate at the session said, “It has made me more confident, made me feel affirmed in what I have already been doing at the Church and has given me plenty of ideas for the future.”
Other comments included: “The training was very well presented and had the perfect combination of presentation and discussion."
And: “It was extremely useful in giving me thoughts about upcoming campaigns for Christmas.”
The two hour session was led by Laura and a team from CPO including the newly appointed CEO Andy Moreman.
They brought countless examples of effective posters, notices, cards and signs for delegates to purchase and take inspiration from - as well as some examples of how not to communicate!
Delegates were reminded that invitation and conversation were at the heart of how we communicate and throughout the training session, which included a number of break out sessions, they were asked to consider questions including:
- What three words would you use to describe your church?
- What is your church’s message?
- Think about whether your church invites, informs, provokes, blesses and welcomes and how does it do these things?
Delegates were reminded of the basics, including how they must remember to tell their community that ‘this is YOUR church’ and that these are ‘YOUR services’.
Attendees were tasked to assess their current space - including the car park and toilet areas - and asked how they were using it, while also being inspired to refresh internal notice boards, propose additional notice boards in car parks and review their identity and branding, perhaps setting up a new website and creating a new theme and position for notices.
With less than three months away, many of the delegates found themselves planning for the Christmas congregations and how they can better meet them.
If you are interested in this type of training session, please email Ciara Hanstock at: commsassistant [at] westyorkshiredales.anglican.org