Today is World Communications Sunday, so let’s communicate like Jesus did … by telling our stories to the widest possible ‘audience’!
Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, He would never speak to them except in parables. (Matthew 13:34)
Whenever Our Lord wanted to hold the attention of a crowd, perhaps to explain a difficult Truth in language and imagery that people would understand, and make them care enough to remember His words and follow His teachings, He would tell a story – to the biggest group of people He could find!
His stories were short, simple and jargon-free. They were about the everyday lives and everyday people from His listeners’ local communities. People who cared about lost sheep or lost coins, who learned from watching the birds, trees and flowers, and understood that sowing seeds in the right way would yield the best harvest.
Today, all communications professionals, newspapers, media and advertisers employ exactly the same technique of using ‘human interest stories’ to ensure readers, listeners and viewers understand and care about what’s happening locally, nationally and across the world. Even the dryest and most abstract political, financial, scientific or legal idea comes to life when introduced with a brief story of how it has affected an actual individual or family.
Communications professionals don’t ‘invent’ news: they rely almost entirely on individual members of the public, charities and other groups to be proactive in sending them information, whenever possible illustrated through human-interest stories and photographs.
A story published freely across mainstream broadcast and online media, or via an organisation’s main website, can reach millions of people who didn’t realise they were interested until their emotions were stirred – and who may then be inspired to action, as well as sharing aspects of the story with their friends and other like-minded people in the social media groups they have chosen to belong to.
Our Lord asks us to ‘Go and tell the Good News to all nations’. The best way to evangelise His ‘Good News’ to the widest possible audience is to publish stories of how we are living out our faith through our own parish and school projects and initiatives, joys and challenges. Our parish bulletins, social media and websites are excellent ways to communicate within our own church communities. If we also place our stories where they will be seen outside our own social or parish groups, they can inspire other Catholics as well as people of all faiths and none across our diocese, our region, and across the world! In the Diocese of Leeds, the place where our parish news has the best chance of being seen by the most people is this diocesan website, where our news pages receive between 10,000 and 17,000 visits every month!
So from this Communications Sunday, please consider helping to evangelise our Catholic faith by sending stories (even in note form) and photographs of YOUR parish projects, charitable or environmental initiatives that could interest and engage others to: firstname.lastname@example.org