Church Communicators from around the state gathered at the Florida Baptist Convention building on Feb. 5th for the first ever Florida Baptist Communicators Network Retreat.
Participants received benefits both tangible and intangible though all were valuable:
- The opportunity to connect with other church communicators, many for the very first time
- Questions answered about how to more effectively tell their church’s story
- Tips for effective church branding
- Free books, t-shirts and mugs
Eric Yeldell, pastor of Contemporary Worship and Ministry at First Baptist Church in Naples, handles the church communication responsibilities at the church. Despite a busy calendar, Yeldell felt it was worth it to take a day out of his schedule and make the drive to Jacksonville to find out more about how he can make the most of his church’s communication strategy.
“I gained better perspective on the significance of healthy & effective communication to our church family, as well as to our community,” he said.
The retreat was led by Mark MacDonald, Strategic Communication Catalyst and head of the Convention’s Communication Team. MacDonald, who has almost been at the Convention for six months, created the Network to come alongside Florida Baptist Communicators as they handle the big task of managing their church’s internal and external messaging. MacDonald was pleased to be able to offer the retreat free of charge thanks to the churches who faithfully give to the Cooperative Program.
MacDonald told the Communicators that their aim is to delight their audience – whoever that may be. MacDonald certainly delighted his audience as the Communicators took to social media, posting pictures, words of encouragement and some of the things they were learning. They also shared pictures of the Play-Doh sculptures they made throughout the day, with the best one winning a prize.
“The fidgeter in me is enjoying the Play-Doh,” tweeted Katrina McMillan, who handles communication at Celebration Baptist Church in Tallahassee.
Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer, stopped in to offer words of welcome and encouragement.
If the day’s goal was to empower and encourage Florida Baptist Communicators, MacDonald and team certainly hit the mark.
“Mark MacDonald and his team gave beneficial insight into how we can better connect with our audiences and appropriately utilize the unique avenues of communication available to us,” Yeldell said. “I left the conference feeling better equipped to serve our church, reach our world and tell better stories of how the Gospel impacts hearts and changes lives.”
The Communicators were not the only ones to walk away from the day encouraged.
“These Florida Baptist Communicators are forging a path into Southern Baptist Church history today. I’m blessed to watch their resolve, leadership, and creativity as we planned the Network’s next steps,” MacDonald said. “The future is oh so good!”
By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, February 6, 2018