It was a typical Monday when the news started to break. A gunman entered a one-room Amish schoolhouse just 10 miles from our church, and it didn't look good. In the end, he took the lives of 5 innocent girls that day, injured more, and left a community in shock.
I was the church's communications director, so my thoughts went to how we, as a church, would respond to such tragedy. Having come from an Amish background, several of our staff had friends and acquaintances in that community. We'd never gone through a crisis like this, so we pulled people together to come up with an approach and what we might say.
We've been discussing the 5 stages of a healthy creative process. This process can be used no matter what size or scope the activity has. The first stages we've reviewed in past blog posts is to define the objective, brainstorming, and development. In this post, we will cover the final two stages.
We started a 4-part series on 5 stages to a Creative Development Process. We've covered Stage 1 and Stage 2 in previous posts.
Stage 3 involves the development of the ideas you decided to produce. This phase tends to be the longest, depending on how involved the concept is.
In Part 1 of this 4-part series, we introduced the 5-stage creative process with Stage 1: Defining the Objective. In this post, we'll discuss Stage 2.
Stage 2: Brainstorm Ideas
This stage is fun because you get to think about all the things you could do to achieve your objective. Statements during this stage should begin with "what if." Research some brainstorming techniques to get you and your team started. Here's one that worked for me, and I used it a lot.
While a lot of planning goes into Christmas and Easter church services, time and energy go into planning smaller activities, as well. Activities like class kick-offs, retreats, vacation Bible schools, or enrollment times for small groups take a ton of planning, too. In creating these events, there are several stages that most planners go through without thinking about it. In this four-part post, we'll present five clear steps you can take to ensure that every event you plan is successful.
Too often, churches unintentionally introduce a level of competition by scheduling events that overlap. Or they schedule too many activities in a month for the same audience. With so many contributing (and competing) messages, church communicators like you take on the challenge to promote each event in a way that connects with its audience, generates interest and, hopefully, results in strong attendance. Yes, the struggle is real!
As you face what seems like a perpetual mountain, here are a few overarching keys that I hope will help.
Boston's historic Haymarket is quite the experience. At these open-air fresh food stands located near the Freedom Trail in the heart of the city's historic district, vendors are shouting their sales to attract attention. During the busiest times, shoppers are pushing and squeezing their way from booth to booth in one congested mayhem. I'd venture to say that this method of promotion would not work in most places. But despite the organized chaos, strangely enough, the approach works for the Boston Haymarket. Have you ever felt like you were facilitating organized chaos when trying to come up with a communications strategy for all your church's events and activities?
Someone asks you if you heard what happen to one of your close friends. As you listen, you wonder, "How come I didn't know about this?" Think about how this lack of communication made you feel at that moment.
Why do you think this happened? At least one of the emotions generated by the conversation is that of surprise–being confronted with information you thought you should have known (particularly before the person who was telling you), but for some reason, you didn't.