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Reaching Out in a Networked World: Expressing Your Congregation’s Heart and Soul

The Alban Institute, 2008
RRP $33.95

Reviewed by Karyl Davison, Rural Ministry Coordinator, Presbytery of Central Qld & Lecturer in Christian Education, PLC. 

EVERYTHING ABOUT a congregation speaks of its values. Imagine yourself walking into a church you know nothing about.

If you see children’s artwork posted on the notice board, hear children singing and playing, and see posters for youth camps or outings you will know that this church caters well for families, without hearing a word spoken.

Alternately, imagine yourself walking into a church where the notice board displays faded and misshapen decorations, out of date catalogues for the local Christian bookshop and old fashioned silk flowers.

Again, without being spoken to, you might assume that this congregation is old and tired.

The central point of this book is that the way congregations communicate their values and identity is critical in our time.

This is partly because of the explosion of communication technology and partly because of the enormous societal shifts in our time.

Communities of faith are no longer a central part of communal life – people no longer feel loyal to the religious institutions of their childhood, if they ever were.

Almost every congregation uses some sort of communication technology.

For some it is simply a newsletter handed to those who attend worship.

However many congregations are beginning to communicate through websites, email, blogs and brochures.

The question posed by Reaching Out is “Do they all communicate the same message, the same values and identity?”

Reaching Out not only explores the ways identity and values are expressed in communication, but gives very practical and helpful advice about how to communicate more effectively as a community of faith.

I highly recommend this book for ministry agents, church leaders and anyone who is involved in the task of communication in the life of the church.