So the well worn story goes like this…. I was new to the area and I was looking for _________ Episcopal Church. My GPS had me going in circles so I stopped in at a gas station to see if they could help me out. Would the gas station down the street know where your church is? For the record, the vast majority of folks sheepishly hang their heads and say no. I then went on to ask the following… Let’s imagine the clerk did know where ________ Episcopal Church was, what would be the next thing out of his or her mouth besides directions? “Oh, that’s the church that _______ !” It’s all about identity.
Identity, along with context and sustainability, are the big three essentials that every faith community needs to become clear about. It is the starting place for all of our faith communities engaged in the Missional Assessment Process (MAP) and all who are in some form of transition. As you might imagine, your Team of Missioners spend a lot of time walking with our faith communities on getting clear about their particular identity.
As you may be aware, earlier this year ECMN took a different direction with our communication strategy. The primary focus of our Missioner for Communications shifted to being a content manager for all of our communications platforms. We are also utilizing the services of Azul 7, a local PR firm, to work with us on our larger communication strategy.
Over the last few months, Azul 7 has been reviewing literally hundreds of pages of documents that are in one way or another transmitted throughout ECMN. They have also been conducting what are known as “stakeholder” and “affiliate” interviews. And finally, this last week they spent four hours with your Team of Missioners, poking and prodding not only about the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, but also about the Episcopal Church in general. The conversation was challenging, intriguing, and even electrifying at times. This was all with the goal of increasing our understanding about our identity.
I am excited to see what may come forth from this process. Unquestionably, it has already further equipped your Team of Missioners to be better able to resource our faith communities to get clearer about their specific identity, as they seek to be the Episcopal Church in their context.