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Memorial Presbyterian Church is a Juicys Winner - Magazine

Memorial Presbyterian Church is a Juicys Winner - Magazine

Posted November 19, 2015 by Jerod Clark

(The Juicys are a way to recognize and reward those churches who’ve worked to improve their church communications during the last year.  It includes giving them a grant to jump start their next project. To see past winners, click here.)

 

The Project: Illumination Magazine

The monthly newsletter at Memorial Presbyterian Church was dying. It was basically a recap of the month’s Sunday bulletins, with a few other announcements, that become less and less engaging. While it eventually went away, the church leadership knew they still needed a way to communicate with the congregation of 275 and the surrounding Midland, Michigan, community.

 

The Process

In the search for finding the right communications tool, MPC’s communication committee started out by surveying the congregation about how they received information from the church in the past and how they like to stay connected in the future.

That survey showed they really wanted two different things,” says Creative Communication Director Katie Horning. “The first was a monthly calendar and the second was a publication informing them of what we as a church were up too. Thus Illumination was born.”

Illumination started out as bi-yearly publication written by church members and people in the community. (Thanks to its popularity, it will soon become a quarterly publication.) The goal was to not only inform the congregation about church life, but also to let the community learn more about what MPC was doing.

“[We wanted] to create a publication that allowed the community a deeper understanding to who we are as a church and offer an opportunity for visitors to stop by and worship or participate in an event,” explains Katie.

Creating a publication like this takes a dedicated committee with the right people involved. MPC made sure they had a writer, editor and someone with a design eye in the group.

Katie says, “We would warn other churches that producing a 16 - 20 page publication is a huge job. It takes lots of planning and cannot be pulled together at the last minute. It is also something that needs to make sense in your communications strategy and be well thought out.”

What We Liked

The transformation in quality from the old newsletter to Illumination was amazing. It’s a beautiful publication. The process for developing the new magazine was good, too. It would have been easy to ignore print, but a survey of the congregation showed that’s how they preferred to stay connected. A key piece of good communication strategy is understanding your audiences needs.

 

Up Next

While the print publication is working, MPC also realizes it takes multiple communication tools to keep folks connected. Their next project is installing two interactive kiosks to engage younger church members as well as streamlining other church processes.

Katie says, “We are hoping that having interactive kiosks and an app that will help everyone sign their children into Sunday school, print name tags, sign up to volunteer and know what events are coming up.”

Filed under: Church Juice, The Juicys, Communications, Newsletters/Magazines

About the Author

Jerod Clark

Jerod joined ReFrame Media in 2007 and built Church Juice from scratch. He poured all his passion for branding, marketing, and messaging into the ministry, publishing e-books, blog posts, and speaking at conferences to help churches energize their communications. He also served as ReFrame’s in-house graphic designer. Before beginning his work at Church Juice, Jerod was a local TV news reporter. In 2016, Jerod stepped away from the ministry to pursue interests in marketing and communications on new horizons.

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Comments (3)

  • Vicki Bott
    10:42 AM
    Thu, Nov 19, 2015

    Our church has only 50 to 60 members but our facility is large enough to double in size.  It would be great to be able to reach out to the community through a newsletter like this but I don’t know if we can afford it.  What does it cost to produce?

  • Barb Pryor
    2:12 PM
    Thu, Nov 19, 2015

    I was wondering the same thing as Vicki above. That looks like a pretty expensive publication; obviously sent to a printer, not done in house. It was also laid out by a professional graphics person, which many churches don’t have access to. Having said all that, it is a very nice publication—I can see where the community would engage with it and possibly decide to check out the church as a result.

  • Katie
    7:24 PM
    Thu, Nov 19, 2015

    Vicki and Barb
    We are blessed to have an excellent communications committee with a professional designer, and several writers on it making this an affordable publication. It is printed at a local print shop, but the costs are very reasonable. I am willing to answer any additional questions you may have via email.

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