The annual update from our Communications Director, Mike Crudge, for 2023.

It continues to be my privilege to serve our collective of faith communities through the Baptist Support Centre. We are making steady progress with our communication plan (although slower than I would like). Much of my area of work is detailed here: baptist.nz/resources/communication

A few highlights:

> Usage of the Baptist NZ app increases, as does the baptist.nz website and engagement with content via Facebook.

> The bi-monthly printable A4 PDF newsletter is being used in churches where older people don’t access content digitally – local churches print/photocopy and distribute this for their people who used to read and miss the Baptist magazine: baptist.nz/print

> There have been 200 written pieces of content published over the past year, averaging close to 4 pieces each week. The most popular Baptist NZ app notification option is the ‘Weekly content update’ that comes out on a Sunday night as a reminder of the written and podcast content over the past week – please continue to encourage your church members to turn this notification on so they can stay up-to-date with the variety of content and resources they are enabling to exist.

> Our most popular online content:

Podcasts

Articles, news & stories

Job vacancies

Find a local church

Administration

> The backbone of our content is the wide range of volunteers who share stories from their local contexts, or write articles, columns, education pieces, or give their time to craft podcast shows or be interviewed for episodes. Thank you!!

> There are seven established columns and columnists providing regular content from a range of topics and perspectives: baptist.nz/resources/ communication/columns

> There are now ten podcast shows with more than 90 episodes on The Baptist NZ Podcast Network – our growing collection of podcast shows that aim to encourage, inspire, inform, and bring into focus a wide range of topics and discussions across the breath of Baptist expression in Aotearoa New Zealand. The eventual hope is that every person within the Baptist movement of churches in New Zealand who listens to audio will find at least one podcast show that nurtures their following of Jesus.

The most recent show is Faith, Church & Disability.

In the last five years, podcast listening for New Zealanders has increased from 7% in 2018 to 17% in 2023, with the fastest growing group being 15–34-year-olds.

See all our podcast shows here: baptist.nz/podcasts.

> We hope to have a December 2023 rollout of the EzyChurch app for any local church that wants to communicate with their people this way. The Support Centre will cover the ongoing cost of this; there will be a $100 initial setup cost. The EzyChurch app will bring together local church communications, including push notifications, events, mobile and web giving, sermon notes and recordings (video and audio, including a local church having its own podcast channel that connects with Spotify and Apple Podcasts), forms, Infoodle integration, social media connection, AirPlay and Chromecast compatibility, and more. Click here for details about the EzyChurch app on their website.

> Hundreds of dollars have been saved by our ‘Team of 40,000’ Baptists using the ‘Discounts’ section of the Baptist NZ app.

> The Editorial Advisory Group has been established. This group of volunteers oversee the content on the Baptist NZ platform (website, the Baptist NZ app, and social media), ensuring it is fulfilling the objectives of the Baptist Union. I have been glad to run occasional things past this wise and diverse group: baptist.nz/resources/communication/editorial-advisory-group.

> I am the advertised Baptist NZ contact for media, public communication and statements. I am also available to help local churches and staff when requested. There have been several situations this year where I have supported local churches or engaged directly with media representatives.

> Several of the groups within our Union have moved their online presence to subsites of baptist.nz such as Baptist Women: women.baptist.nz and the Northern Baptist Association: northern.baptist.nz. People who work with young people in the 0-25 year-old range will soon have herito.baptist.nz as their online hub.

Our communication mechanism will only be good and used if there is great content that is useful to our people. We rely on the skills/gifts of those among our collective of faith communities who produce articles, tell stories, share news, offer opinions, create podcast episodes, etc. I thank those who contribute in this way. If you know of someone in your church who would be great at creating in this space, please encourage them to check out this webpage: baptist.nz/creatives or get in touch with me: [email protected]


Photo: Podcast shows on the Baptist NZ Podcast Network

This update is from the 2023 Annual Report of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, which you can view here.

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