Public Relations: For Churches Too?

Happy Inauguration Day!

Whether you’re Democrat, Republican or an Independent, you’ve got to admit President Barack Obama certainly has captured the public’s attention. Yesterday alone, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Obama reiterated his strong stance on public service and thousands of Americans joined in volunteering.

As Christians, we can easily parallel this agenda with God’s command to love one another. Because he first loved us, we too reach out in love to others. But in doing so, how much attention do we attract? What kind of attention? Do we want attention? Does attention communicate the message of Christ?

Here’s where the term “public relations,” a.k.a. PR, comes in.

Yes, once again, we’re applying the business world to our church world. Can we rightfully do this?

Yes, we can.

Read my disclaimer

Will this business tool bring lost souls to Jesus? No, of course not. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

Might the Holy Spirit use this tool for his purposes? Of course. Along with his command to spread the gospel, God also gives us knowledge—practical knowledge that can be used completely to his glory.

PR can be God’s outreach tool.

What is PR and how does it apply to our job of communicating Christ?

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) gives a lengthy definition of PR. In college I learned a more succinct definition: Using communication to create a positive image of an organization or product to the public.

News articles, T.V. interviews, web site, advertising…these are a few of many ways we can communicate a positive image of our church, and ultimately Christ, to the public.

Has your youth group recently held a food drive? Send a press release to your local newspaper. Has a member participated in humanitarian work overseas? Promote it on the Internet. Is your church raising money for a mission? Put up a poster showing your results.

Isn’t this bragging?

Jesus tells us we are the light of the world. He describes us as a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Furthermore, he says “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,” Matt. 5:14 & 16.

PR can allow our light to shine. PR can glorify God.

In a time when the media commonly portrays Christianity in a negative light, it’s imperative we counteract with a positive light. It’s vital we communicate Christ.

Coming next: Writing press releases that get published.

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