By the summer of 2020, it was becoming clear to all of us that the effects of the global pandemic on our lives were not going away any time soon. What was needed was not a 3 month bandaid solution to get us through until we could go back to “normal,” but rather, the way we do life and ministry had radically changed, and much of it had moved to digital platforms.
As a church communications and digital expert, I was being bombarded with questions and cries for help from churches and leaders of ministries across the nation and around the world. But, the reality is, the ones who need communications help the most are also the churches that are least resourced to pay for that help. So I approached Compassion Canada with an idea.
Compassion loves the local church and works in and through the local expression of church around the world to serve the needs of children and their families. The church in Canada helps make this possible, but in 2020, is also just struggling with massive change to the fundamental way it operates. What if we could partner to equip the church in Canada with resources and training around digital and communication to help them make this massive change, so in turn, the Canadian church could continue to thrive and bless the needs of the global church community?
This is how the Word Made Digital Tutorial Vlogs came to life. A series of practical tutorial videos taught by leading experts in the field of church and not-for-profit communications, providing tools and resources so that the church can thrive in the midst of unprecedented change.
The name “Word Made Digital” is a play off of John 1 where the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. What does incarnation, proclamation, and presence look like when that is only on the internet, not in person? How do we navigate the changing cultural landscape and not be left behind because we don’t know how to translate to digital? How do I use Facebook? What should I do if I need a new website? How do I get my message to stand out in the noise? How can I organize my remote team? What about evangelism and discipleship online?
The church has not just good news, but the BEST news in the world. So we should be the best communicators in the world, in both words and in actions. But it is a huge struggle for Christian leaders to learn the skills, tools and language of the Digital Age, especially if they were recently thrust into it by the global pandemic.
Compassion Canada continues to inspire and amaze me at their commitment to the local churches they partner with, both in Canada and around the world. The stories of courage and resilience of local leaders in the pandemic–even using WhatsApp to communicate with children and families in remote areas and recording sermons on their phones to bring encouragement–are more clear illustrations of how the world of church ministry as changed.
It is a privilege to work with Compassion Canada to equip the church to do the work of the church, for the sake of vulnerable children and their families. The world may have changed, but the WORD is still the same yesterday, today and forever.
~Joanna la Fleur
View all the tutorials at WordMadeDigital.com.
Joanna la Fleur is a speaker, podcaster, TV host, and communications consultant. With a Business Communications degree and a Masters in Theological Studies, she has been helping the Church communicate the best news in the world for over 15 years.
You can catch her interviews with Christian creatives and communicators on the Word Made Digital Podcast, communications training on the Word Made Digital Tutorials and her Bible teaching on the national TV show, See Hear Love.
Additionally, Joanna is grateful to work with Danielle Strickland on initiatives like Infinitum– spiritual practices for those who follow Jesus in the Digital Age. She acts as an advisor to the Institute of Evangelism at Wycliffe College and is newly appointed to the Board of Governors at Tyndale University.
Joanna is a proud aunt to 12 nieces and nephews, has travelled to 37 countries in search of coffee, and calls downtown Toronto home.