Why should churches be concerned with storytelling?
“It’s a way to get the word out about what you’re doing within your own congregation, and also occasionally you can communicate that to the wider community,” says Rich Copley, communications strategist for the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Finding people is a really important element. People like reading and hearing stories about other people.”
Copley and Darla Carter, a communications associate with the CPJ, are both seasoned storytellers who were interviewed by the Rev. Dee Decker, the PMA social media strategist, as part of the Communicators Network monthly online offering.
The trio talked about how to find compelling individuals and tell a story through their eyes, seek information about how real people are involved and impacted, and find ways to relate to who is providing – and reading – the information.
The conversation also touched on how to prepare questions for gathering information and using both digital and print media formats.
Carter notes that storytelling at the congregational level relates to the PC(USA) Matthew 25 invitation, which is in part a plea for churches “to reach outside the four walls, the confines of the building, so that churches are making a difference in their community.”
Some people view church parking lots with fewer and fewer cars on Sunday morning and think, according to Carter, “Does anybody there really care about me?”
“When you tell your stories,” Carter says, “you can show the community you care and these are the topics we care about.”