We Have a Story to Tell!

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We Have a Story to Tell!
Monday, November 16, 2015

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Woodburn UMC
700 N Cascade Dr
Woodburn, OR

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We are born storytellers. We tell stories through sermons, lectures, and blog posts. We tell our stories through the decisions we make, the way we spend our time and money. Everyone is a storyteller and in this digital age, everyone is also a publisher as we tell our stories through daily status updates, photos and videos of our families, friends, and yes, food.


But what about our faith?


As God’s people, we are called to communicate and we have an amazing story to tell! It is a contagious story of love and freedom for all people but despite our fondness for St. Francis’ admonition* it doesn’t always just tell itself.

  • What is a church to do to communicate with relevance in a world which moves so quickly?

  • How do we, as the church and as followers of Jesus, move skillfully to adopt communications tools and practices to speak through the noise?

  • Should the church promote itself and how can it do so with tact and grace while reaching people it doesn’t already know?

Take a day to focus on telling your story. This communications training will focus on the importance of storytelling, and the skills that can help make that easier for your church. It will be held Monday, November 16th, at Woodburn UMC. This will be a great opportunity for local church staff, pastor, and volunteers to sharpen skills and  learn about effective communication for the local church. (Can't come that day? A sister workshop is being held in Puyallup Washington on Saturday, November 14.) Advance Lay Servants can count this training as renewal credit.

Keynote speakers Ray Buckley and Rev. Lowell Greathouse will complement a number of focused workshops.


Schedule of the day ~ Monday, November 16

9:00 a.m. – Registration and Networking
9:30 a.m. – Welcome and Opening Plenary – Rev. Lowell Greathouse - Looking for Signs of Life!
10:30 a.m. – Workshop Sessions
12:00 – Lunch provided by Woodburn UMC's United Methodist Women
1:00 p.m. – Workshop Sessions
2:45 p.m. – Closing Plenary – Ray Buckley - What are the roots of your story?
3:45 p.m. – Wrap-up and Reflection
4:00 p.m. – Head home

Need Housing?:
LaQuinta Inn at 120 Arney Road NE, Woodburn OR has several rooms for us at a special rate
Call the hotel at 503-982-1727 to make a reservation at a special rate of $75.60 plus tax.
Contact Sally Blanchard at sally@umoi.org if you have housing questions

Keynote Speakers:

Lowell Greathouse

Rev. Lowell Greathouse is the Mission and Ministry Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference. This is a new position for him after serving as the Columbia District Superintendent, a local church pastor, and working with community service agencies.

In his new role, he's working of finding the stories of the Annual Conference that find the spirit and soul of the church.

Ray Buckley

Ray BuckleyRay Buckley is the interim Director of the Center for Native American Spirituality and Christian Study. Buckley has served The United Methodist Church as a staff member of The United Methodist Publishing House, Director of the Native People’s Communication Office (UMCom) for nine years, and Director of Connectional Ministries for the Alaska Missionary Conference.

Most recently Buckley wrote Hard to Dance with the Devil on Your Back and contributed to New Dawn in Beloved community. Also, he is the author/illustrator of five books: God’s Love is Like…The Give-Away: A Christmas Story in the Native American Tradition, The Wing, Christmas Moccasins, and Dancing with Words: Storytelling as Legacy, Culture, and Faith. He is also the author of Creator Sang a Welcoming Song, and Walking in These White Man Shoes, children and youth resources for the Women’s Dvision School of MissionsThe Give-Away was selected to appear on the CBS Christmas Eve special, An American Christmas, produced by the National Council of Churches. His stories, poetry, and art have appeared in numerous journals, periodicals, books, and museums. Buckley has taught in Nigeria, and Ghana, and served as a lecturer in Native American studies for several universities.

.Author/illustrator Ray Buckley is of Lakota/Tlingit/Scots descent. Ray is one of several Native leaders profiled in As Long As the Waters Flow: Native Americans in the South and East, by Frye Gillard, and The Power of Eagles: Natures Way to Individual Accomplishment, by Twyman L. Towery.

Workshop Sessions

Advent and Seasonal Campaigns: Reaching beyond Sunday morning (UMCom)

Rethink Church: A movement to transform members, congregations and communities beyond the Sunday morning gathering, invites you to dream big. Together, we will explore using traditional and non-traditional resources for reaching beyond the walls of your church to engage your community . By learning from others and using the gifts and resources of your congregation, you will discover how to Rethink Church and why Rethink Church is so crucial to effective, relevant ministry in the 21st century.?

We will be previewing seasonal resources and what Rethink Church can provide local churches and districts during back to school, Lent and other special seasons in the life of the church.

Trainer: Sophia Agtarap is a communicator/storyteller and communications strategist for nonprofits, higher education and faith-based organizations. She currently lives in Nashville, TN.

Designing with Purpose: Using graphic design to tell your church’s story

How do you define good graphic design?  How is your church utilizing your visual gifts and resources to support your local ministries?  What are some easy steps to develop your church’s visual messages for impact and effectiveness?

Join us as we DISCUSS, CRITIQUE, and APPLY practical ways to visually enhance your communications ministry!

Recommended: Bring in samples of church bulletins, posters, and laptops/mobile devices to view examples for discussion.

Trainer: Jesse N. Love serves as the graphic designer and print manager for the PNW Conference producing Channels (Magazine). He invites you to Design with Purpose!

Using Social Media to get beyond your church walls

Facebook, Twiter, Instagram and other social media can allow you to reach out through and beyond your congregation. But to make the most of it you have to be intentional, plan what you will do, and invite others to participate. Come learn about social media and how you can use it to tell your churches story!

Trainer: Bryn Wittmayer, Wittmayer Social Media

Communications Strategy (UMCom)

The creation of a strategic plan for your church helps improve how you communicate with and impact the people you want to reach for the Kingdom.  It will also allow you the opportunity to ensure you are being good stewards of church resources (time, energy, money, people, facilities), ensuring they are working together for your church to be most effective.

During this workshop, we will cover the tools to plan, build, and launch a successful online strategy that helps people connect with your church in a new way. By engaging your audience online first, you extend your reach beyond Sunday services and expose your audience to your message before they visit your church.

Trainer (tentative): Caitlin Congdon is the Director of Communications Training and Development at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.

Using Media in the Church w/o Breaking the Law

How can your church use music, graphics, livestreaming and other resources while respecting the rights of the artists that created the material?
What does "fair use" really allow in a church or on a website?

Trainer: Ian McKnight, Manager of the Regional Media Center.