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New Rebuilt Parish Book Focuses on Communications

September 1, 2015

Rev. Michael White and Tom Corcoran know that a parish doesn’t just communicate its mission from the pulpit. Teaching and preaching also happen in classes and small groups, in bulletins, on the church website and social media, and through volunteers who welcome visitors through its doors.

In the newest book in the Rebuilt Parish series, Rebuilding Your Message, White and Corcoran tackle a key issue—parish communications.

Ave Maria Press asked White and Corcoran to reflect about Rebuilding Your Message:

Ave Maria Press: Why did you focus on communications for the next book in the Rebuilt series?

Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran: We focused on communications for a few reasons.

One, we believe that this is an area of the Church that has a great potential for growth. We believe if parishes put more time and energy in their communications they would see great growth in reaching lost people and making disciples.

Second, we are able to speak from experience on this issue as we have seen a great rise in giving and in volunteerism as a result of focusing efforts on communication.

Third, at the end of the day, parishes are in the communications business. The Gospel means “Good News.” We are in the business of stewarding the most important news that exists: God so loved the world he gave his only Son. Unfortunately, this message gets lost in all the other noise and communication around. We have the most important message, but if we do not communicate it well, no one will know about it.

Q: What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from Rebuilding Your Message?

A: As parishes, we steward the life-changing message of the Gospel. It is the most important message there is and deserves our very best efforts in communicating it.

Q: When you talk about communications and message, why is it important to also include parishioners?

A: Parishioners are meant to help communicate the message and carry it to the world. The members of our Church should not just be consumers, but people who share the message of the Gospel with the world.

Q: Why does Nativity’s story resonate with so many Catholics, both religious and lay people?

A: Many people share in the frustrations and concerns that characterized our parish that things are not going well. People love their parishes and want to see them succeed. Nativity’s story represents hope that God is still active and that the Church can be rebuilt.

Q: When you were looking to change the status quo at Nativity, you visited some Protestant mega-churches and consulted with Pastor Rick Warren and business expert Patrick Lencioni. Why? What is the most important thing you learned from each of them?

A: Overall, we learned from Rick Warren that things could be different. We learned that our Church culture could be warm and welcoming and friendly. He gave us hope and now our intention is to do the same for other parishes.

Our relationship with Pat Lencioni has only developed more recently. Pat has taught us about the importance of a healthy organization and how it is achieved through some very simple practices. Most important to the health of an organization is a core team that creates clarity. 

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