Flowery Church Language Confuses Church Press Release

Press ReleaseDo you use press releases to market your church?

Churches and other Christian groups often fail to obtain a profile in the local community because they do not know how to create effective press releases.

I found this interesting church press release the other day.

(Source: Presbyterians focus on ascension and evangelism – link broken).  Here is most of the text.

See my comments below the article.  I have reformatted the one long paragraph into a readable format.  Names have not been changed.

At 10:30 a.m. worship on Sunday, May 4, in both sermon and song, Tyrone Presbyterians will focus on the Ascension of the Lord, 40 days after Easter, and on the evangelism, which Christ called His followers to exercise every day after His exit from Earth.

Many Christians around the world celebrate the Ascension of the Lord on Ascension Thursday, May 1, 2008.

In the Christian year, Ascension Thursday occurs 40 days after Easter, and 10 days before Pentecost.

Before his message, Epworth Chaplain and Presbyterian Preaching Pastor Mark Liller will read the story of Ascension Day found in Acts 1:6 through 14.

In that Bible reading, Christ’s followers gather at Mount Olivet, just outside Jerusalem, and the narrator writes, “After Jesus had said this, as they watched, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.”

Following Reverend Liller’s Ascension Day scripture reading, the Westminster Choir will sing an anthem entitled “A Hymn Of Glory Let Us Sing.”

Composed in about 700 A.D. by the British church historian Venerable Bede, this choir anthem has been considered the first hymn about Ascension Day written as Christians celebrate Christ’s exit from Earth.

With the Ascension Day scripture as his foundation, Pastor Liller will deliver a message with the terse title – “Evangelism.”

In his homily, Liller will challenge Tyrone Presbyterians with Christ’s Ascension Day commandment to His followers – “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Hearing Reverend Liller’s message about evangelism, Tyrone Presbyterians will respond by singing two beloved Sunday school hymns – “We’ve A Story To Tell To The Nations” (1896) and “I Love To Tell The Story” (1866).

As the days of Easter hasten toward Pentecost, and churches all across Tyrone energize to increase their membership, why not join Tyrone Presbyterians for 10:30 worship this Sunday, May 4 while they look toward a hopeful future, as expressed in this Sunday school hymn – “For the darkness shall turn to dawning, and the dawning to noonday bright/And Christ’s Great Kingdom shall come on Earth, The Kingdom of Love and Light.!”

A Confusing Church Press Release

As I read this press release, I find it very confusing.

I’ve read this press release for this church multiple times and finally seem to have gotten the general gist of what they announce.

It is so full of flowery language that only those steeped in the Christian tradition would recognize.

Those who have not been at church would find this press release obtuse and confusing:

  • Homily
  • Ascension Thursday
  • Respond by singing
  • Energize to Increase Membership.
  • Days of Easter hasten towards Pentecost
  • If the title is terse, will the sermon be terse?
  • Westminster Choir?  Is that a different church or the name of your choir?
  • Beloved Sunday School hymn: I didn’t go to Sunday school in 1896 or 1866.
  • Any visitors are not invited to sing?  (The Tyrone Presbyterians will respond . . . .)
  • What is the pastor’s title?  How do I address him?  He’s called by 4 different labels in the press release (Chaplin, Presbyterian Preaching Pastor, Reverend, Pastor).

What is the goal of your church press release?

Is the goal of this press release to to get members?

Is the goal of the service to get members?

Are we to exercise every day per paragraph 1?

If your church is issuing press releases, think how this press release could be simplified and geared towards non-churched visitors.

  • Simplify language structure.
  • Are hymn histories necessary?
  • Answer the question: Why should I come?
  • Fix grammatical and punctuation errors.

If you’d like to learn more about press releases, listen to this podcast I recorded with a pastor who uses them.

Related posts:


  1. […] Local newspapers will often run church press releases (or exerpts from them) in their religion section, so it’s great to see a church using a press release to communicate with people in their community, but you’ve got to write them in a way that unchurched people can understand.  Read the critique: Flowery Church “Insider” Language confuses Press Release. […]

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