The theme for our Annual Council this year was “Awake, My Soul, Stretch Every Nerve” – and we attempted to do just that by shifting the format a bit. On the Friday of Annual Council, instead of the usual council business, we took part in a State of the Diocese presentation. Our three bishops kicked off the event with an intimate, moderated conversation about their passion areas and priorities. Then, mission and ministries groups from across the Diocese shared stories of how they got out of their comfort zones to try new things and push new boundaries, with positive results.
Since Council, we’ve received inquiries from a few congregations that would like to emulate this type of event at their own annual meetings. So, we thought we’d put together our top tips for hosting a “State of the Congregation” presentation.
- Be Inquisitive: A moderated Q&A with clergy and lay leadership is a great way to have folks join in discussion in a manner that feels accessible and engaging for the audience. Appoint a moderator to keep the flow of conversation moving along at a good pace. Create the questions ahead of time around the topics or ministry areas you would like to highlight. It’s important to rehearse and be well prepared, but don’t rely on scripted responses. Consider opening up the floor for questions from the congregation, too, to increase the interactive factor.
- Highlight Your Ministries: Think about which individuals or ministry teams have compelling stories to be told, and invite them to share. Issue your invitations to folks who you think will be engaging, energetic presenters. Ask them to check out the TED Talks videos for inspiration. In the TED Talks, the speakers stand on stage and walk around. They’re energetic and feel casual but professional.
- Plan Well: Ask your presenters to keep things short – around five or six minutes. Integrate technology only as you’re able to support it. It can be difficult to switch between different PowerPoint presentations, videos, audios and photo slideshows, so make your AV capabilities and expectations clear beforehand.
- Record and Share: If at all possible, record your presentation – either in audio, video or even photos and articles – and share the results with others.
What did you think of the State of the Diocese? Any feedback or tips to share?