Its one thing for 3000+ churches to do quality publications for their small group discussions its quiet another for smaller churches. How do you get away from drab B/W publications with word clipart illustrations? How do you get away from what would have been “cutting edge” presentation in the early 90’s to something more modern and suiting for the heightened aesthetic interests of today’s crowd?
If you’re willing to invest hours and creativity “Blurb Books” might be an option. Of course there are other contenders like “Shutterfly Books,” “Picaboo,” “Viovio,” “Lulu,” “Snapfish,” “Avinci Photobook,” and “iPhoto Books.” Above are examples of what you can do with Blurb Books. I haven’t used them yet, I have used Shutterfly and was very happy with the results but the price is high ($25 for a basic book). This is something I’ve been thinking about lately: Creating a medium that values simple minimalist beauty but that packs a punch in terms of content. Books that leaders can return to again annually or bi-annually to share through the core values of the church in a small group setting. Redundancy is king when it comes to imparting vision, values, and practices. You could even use these in adjacent to the current teaching series of the Sunday sermons. Purchase one for each small group leader and then make them available in a participant version for those interested. Or you could design small postcard front and back color handouts that are aligned around the larger leader books. People get one each week in prep for next week and they have attached to them three invite cards to pass out or stir conversation with work colleagues.
As young professionals become increasingly more mobile and for that matter as everyone become such I think creating resources like these that people can keep and return to will help them personalize their time with your ministry. I know on average about every 3-6 years large groups of professionals transfer from one city to another so the pastoral question isn’t merely how can I minster to them now but what can I impart to them that will stick with them beyond our faith community and into their next. Of course beyond your teaching you want the way your community did mission to stick, but this is perhaps a way the teaching side of things that inspired and nurtured the mission could stay with them.
Another way to come at this is creating a team dedicated to developing artist resources for the internalization of your core values and your key teaching series. This requires coordination between ministry teams and forethought but I think its well worth it. The key in the idea above is in the mix between simple presentation and deep, engaging content.
Love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, criticisms…