PR can be defined as establishing goodwill between the organization and the public. There are many careers in public relations: corporate PR, government PR, an agency. However, there is one that is often overlooked by Christians, yet it is one that can be used to advance the Kingdom of God and bring God all the more glory-this area is ministry PR.
After graduation and for the rest of my life I hope to be in full-time ministry. It is certainly not an area that is exempt from public relations. Churches often face crisis, have to report different things to the congregation, have to be wise in the decisions they make as they interact with the public, and need to consider what they are communicating to the public. In fact, the General Council of the Assemblies of God has a PR department of their own. On their page are a few insightful articles that would be benefit any pastors who do not have communications professional on staff.
In one of the articles, “Is Good Communication Vital To Successful Ministry?“, the AG PR department gives 4 basic steps in establishing an active public relations program:
- Determine Your Local Publics. Each church is located in a community with unique demographic and geographic needs. It is important to determine the specific publics in existence around your church.
- Examine Your Ministries. What existing ministries would be of interest to specific publics in your community? Do any new ministries need to be established to effectively reach your publics?
- Plan Your Efforts and establish a realistic timeline. Determine which publics you are equipped to reach now, and which will need to wait for the training of church members and development of ministries. Next, plan what methods you will use to promote these ministries. Some examples include radio and television ads, Web and e-mail promotion, flyers, bumper stickers, door to door, giveaways and word of mouth.
- Execute Your Program. Carry out your plans. As you begin to build bridges between a targeted public and your church with positive relationships, you will open doors to share Christ with that public.
A PR professional should generally be one who wants to be a catalyst for change, writes well, speaks well, and can think quickly.
As someone who plans to be on staff in a ministry, I think I have the qualities to also fulfill PR duties if I seek to always be working on my writing skills. Speaking will naturally be something that I will continue to improve on as I speak in front of a congregation or the public more and more. When it comes to the thinking quickly part, well, I just pray God gives me wisdom and common sense in situations. Ultimately, I have a desire to be a catalyst for change in a community and reach out to people that do not normally attend church. PR is an effective tool in doing so.