An update from our Communications Director, Mike Crudge, for 2022.

It continues to be my privilege to be serving our collective of faith communities through the Baptist Support Centre on the Lead Team. Our communication plan has seen significant progress last year:

--After the printed Baptist magazine ended in 2021, a replacement mechanism was required to connect our union of churches, including a refresh of our online presence. Over the last year, the following has occurred:

-The launch of a news-type website (similar to Stuff, RNZ, Reuters, NZ Herald), which includes our public-facing organisational content (April).

-An app linked with the website: Baptist NZ for Android and iOS devices, creating a space for all our news, stories, articles, podcasts, events, videos, etc. Adjustable notification settings allow readers to get weekly updates or whenever there is something new (June).

-A bi-monthly printable newsletter with content from the Baptist NZ app. This is sent to churches to print for people who don’t use devices or computers, with our senior people in mind (August).

-The start of a Baptist NZ Instagram presence, with Gen Z in mind (August).

--Planning the formation of an oversight group for content on the Baptist NZ platform (by November 2022).

--The beginnings of The Baptist NZ Podcast Network, with three podcast shows established (May).

Now that we have a replacement platform for our national connection with our team of 40,000 Baptists, here are some priorities for the year ahead:

--Aiming for a steady and consistent stream of 5 or 6 new pieces of content each week on the Baptist NZ platform that shares our stories of gospel renewal, encourages, inspires, resources, informs, educates, and expresses our shared and diverse identity as the Team of 40,000 Baptists in New Zealand. The hope would be that our people would browse their content once a week and find something beneficial to their following of Jesus. People will see and know who we are as NZ Baptists through the content on our app.

--A focus on developing and supporting content creators within our union of faith communities. Identifying those within our team of 40,000 who are good at sharing stories, writing, and engaging with topics and issues in ways that help resource our collection of churches. Is this you? Does someone come to mind?

--Offering resources for local churches to enhance and support the communication within the local church setting and beyond:

-The new Baptist NZ platform integrates with the local church app, EzyChurch, from Christchurch-based company EzyStream. We are working on an extremely affordable and feature-filled deal for all our churches to benefit from their own media library and local church app. Churches can use this for sermons, newsletters, events, and device notifications. Imagine quickly letting your people know of a last-minute event venue change (e.g., it looks like rain, the picnic will now be in the church hall).

-Offering an easy and basic website option for local churches that don’t have the resources to keep a website maintained, e.g., (also providing this to the various groups within the union who currently have websites that are under-maintained).

-Aiming for ten different podcast shows on The Baptist NZ Podcast Network that inspire, encourage, challenge, resource, support, and educate. The goal is to have at least one podcast show for everyone within the Baptist whānau to identify with and desire to follow, enhancing their following of Jesus.

In April, we farewelled Rebecca McLeay, our in-house Graphic Designer, as she moved to work at Eastgate Christian Centre. Thank you, Rebecca, for your years of creative offerings. In May, we employed a part-time Comms Assistant, Charis Fotheringham, from Windsor Park Baptist Church. Charis is a recent comms graduate with a lot of fresh ideas and understanding of the broader comms landscape.

I like the phrase “content is king”, meaning our communication mechanism will only be good 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 creating in this space, please encourage them to check out this webpage:

This update is from the 2022 Annual Report of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, which you can view here.

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