I conducted an experiment today.
Every few weeks the Christian Standard staff sends dozens of church newsletters for me to look through in hopes of finding interesting or inspiring ministry stories for Buzz. This week’s shipment included 79 church papers from around the country. I counted them up and then tracked the following:
These newsletters included a variety of announcements or articles—22 church camp promos, 13 CIY conference trips, nine golf scrambles, eight movie or game nights (not including Good Friday showings of The Passion), five appeals for recipes for church cookbooks, half a dozen paintball or laser tag tournaments, 31 women’s brunches/teas/”wear a hat”/”bring a purse” events, 23 seniors potluck dinners/bus trips to musical productions/trips to Washington, D.C., and one feature-length article on preventing and healing ingrown toenails (I kid you not).
Only four of the 79 included items I might feature in Buzz.
Now, I know some newsletters exist to inform the congregation of upcoming “events,” not to update them on new ministry activity. (Although including news of exciting church ministries seems a no-brainer to me.) And I know many of these dozens of churches—maybe even the ingrown toe church–could tell stories that fall into the “interesting and inspiring” category. AND I know this was just a random sampling.
But when I look at these numbers, I wonder if we sometimes confuse programming for ministry.