Reaching out to all people in order to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ: the mission of the New Apostolic Church is not least a question of communication. What is the best way to do this? Here are some answers from three different continents.
Communicating in text and image
Correspondents from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Paraguay met at the central church in Buenos Aires on 1 April. A total of 87 people—photographers and editors—received two days of training from the communication and editorial department.
Bishop Leonardo Berardo welcomed the participants on this historic date. Exactly ninety years before, the first issue of La Voz Nueva Apostólica (The New Apostolic Voice) was published in Argentina. And 20 years ago, also on 1 April, the first editorial team was formed. Then the workshops started, where the brothers and sisters—all of them volunteers—were able to pick up useful skills and tips.
By means of the website nac.photos the photographers learned how to tell a story with pictures, while the writers and editors discussed the importance of institutional language. There was time to practise not only in the workshops, but also at the divine service the next day in Boca, a congregation that is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Some of the photographers and editors took advantage of the divine service to show off their newly learned skills and report on the historic congregation.
Communicating as a leader
A good month later, on 20 May, 83 communication officers from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay met on 20 May in Argentina. The special thing this time: all the participants were Apostles, Bishops, district rectors, and the communication coordinators of each district.
District Apostle Enrique Eduardo Minio opened the meeting and welcomed the guests and then handed over to Bishop Leonardo Berardo. He discussed the Vision and Mission statements of the New Apostolic Church both in terms of their meaning for our Church as well as their function as a guide for all actions and activities, including those related to communication. Concepts such empathy, active listening, and assertiveness were then developed together and, like the correspondents the month before, they discussed the importance of institutional language in depth. After the participants were grouped according to the tasks they carry out, they worked on specific aspects of their role before coming together again to talk about social media, among other things.
Senegal is online
The New Apostolic Church Senegal recently launched its own website. Initially, it will be the task of the ministers to bring the site to life. To support them in this, experienced ministers from Germany joined them on Saturday, 16 April. In a video conference, the ministers from the Dakar district met with Apostle Gert Opdenplatz, Bishop Pascal Strobel, and Wolfgang Oehler, a retired District Elder. They introduced the site to the ministers, showed them the intranet area, and how best to write for the internet.
Targeting social media
The communications team of the Church in Italy met in Milan at the end of March. The role of communication within the New Apostolic Church is to report clearly and consistently on all developments. This was explained by Andreas Grossglauser, the communication coordinator of the Regional Church, and Bishop Ivan De Lazzari. They said that changes are best communicated to the congregations step by step and by providing adequate information material. In between, there were lots of opportunities to practise and try out what they had learned. Finally, they talked about how social media could be used. Sharing photos and streams brings once closer to fellow believers and by sharing articles in social media more views are generated.
Industry trends at a glance
Also in Cape Town, South Africa, the communication coordinators of the Apostle area met for a weekend at the beginning of June. The communications manager of the New Apostolic Church Southern Africa, Bradley Bourne, opened the proceedings with a prayer and an overview of the weekend. Then Lance Witten, editor-in-chief at Independent Online, a major South African news website, delivered an enlightening keynote on the media. He highlighted social media and the era of artificial intelligence, tailored messaging on different platforms, market trends, and social strategy. The communications team from the Church offices covered the overview of publications and design elements of the Church. Then it became practical: the morning and mid-afternoon sessions provided the basis for the groupwork which brought the inaugural conference to a conclusion. The divine service on Sunday marked the end of the three-day promotion and sharing of knowledge.