New book aims to help churches connect with their communities

A local author is launching a new book today (November 26) to help churches get their message across – using everything from social media and mobile-friendly websites to more traditional publicity methods.
 
100 Ways To Get Your Church Noticed has been written by Neil Pugmire, communications adviser for Portsmouth’s Church of England diocese. It offers advice to churches on everything from creating a dynamic Facebook page to designing effective posters, and from putting together a must-read parish magazine to getting stories covered in the media.
 
The book is being launched by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, and Neil Pugmire, at St James’s Church, Emsworth, from 11am-12noon today (Wednesday 26 November).
 
It is published by Church House Publishing, and also includes extensive illustrations and photographs showing examples of good church publicity. Many of the examples are from Portsmouth’s Church of England diocese, but the book is designed to be used by churches of all denominations. The foreword is written by the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth.

The book was originally published in 2006, but has been rewritten and expanded to include details of how churches can use social media, mobile apps and websites that look good on mobiles and tablets.

It also includes advice on making good use of church buildings and noticeboards, using text messages and email newsletters, taking good photographs and spreading a word-of-mouth reputation by helping out in the local community.

Neil (pictured) said: “When I started giving advice to parishes about publicity, there was no up-to-date book on the market that I could point people to, which is why I originally wrote the book in 2006. Since then, the ways we communicate with each other have transformed so much that we thought it was worth updating the entire book.
 
“Churches might want to think more carefully about the messages they are giving out. Does their publicity material include images of empty buildings or a vibrant congregation? Are they swamping their posters with text or communicating effectively using a single image? Are they using social media just to convey information or to have genuine conversations?
 
“Churches are full of fascinating people with interesting stories to tell about God working in their lives. We rarely tell those stories in parish magazines, on websites or via the media. But people like to read about other people’s lives, and it’s a great way of showing that our churches are dynamic places where lives can be changed.
 
“They also often rely on methods that might have worked before. It’s sometimes hard for them to appeal to a new audience who might never read a parish magazine, but would read the same story via Twitter or Facebook.”
 
The Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, said: “This new edition of Neil’s book brings us right up to date with the seemingly ever-growing opportunities for communicating the gospel. The book is brimming with practical pointers and insights that are shared with the simple aim of helping the Church communicate well.”
 
Alongside the book, an accompanying website – www.getyourchurchnoticed.com – features further ideas, the chance for churches to submit their own examples of good publicity, and an easy way to order a copy.

And you can also watch a video introducing the book and showing some examples of good church publicity in the Portsmouth area.


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