Former Mars Hill Church spokesperson offers advice to churches on how to handle the press in his new gig with Ministry Communications Association.
He certainly has had experience doing so and it appears he has taken some valuable observations away from his time at Mars Hill.
When I read this tip, I thought of the ResultSource New York Times Best Seller list fiasco.
If you know press may start poking around about a certain topic, gather your team and come up with approved messaging and basic principles ahead of time. That way your spokesperson can be prepared. It’s a good idea to write down approved answers to common questions about your church’s beliefs, and have those well prepared in advance as well.
Mars Hill had three messages in response to inquiries about Mars Hill Church’s financing a book buying scheme, all offered in the space of about a week. In March, I wrote:
This is the third reaction from Driscoll/Mars Hill to the ResultSource scheme. First, Justin Dean told World Magazine that the RSI-Mars Hill relationship was an “investment” and an “opportunity.” Then the Board of Advisors and Accountability said the scheme was “unwise.” Now Driscoll says he first saw it as a way to maximize book sales, but now sees it as manipulative and “wrong.” The vacillation about whether gaming the system is a good opportunity, unwise or wrong is confusing and won’t do much to convince people that Mars Hill and Driscoll can be candid.
It appears that there was an internal struggle about how to message the revelation to the public. I have asked Justin about the discrepancies and will add any information from him to this post.
The bottom line advice is to have a pastoral staff that doesn’t place the PR person in a position to defend the indefensible.