These Best Practices provide a framework for everyone within the church to ensure communications reflect the principles of the Future TWK Conference.
This includes, but is not limited to, formal and informal efforts, online and offline, and new and traditional methods of communicating. From announcing news to a group to answering the question(s) from a person or group of people, all our communications should reflect the following principles:
- Clarity: Communicate. Answer questions.
- Invitation: Welcome all to the church, to the conversation. Invite questions and discussions. When you do not know an answer, name someone who does. Also seek opportunities to communicate and invite others.
- Trust: Communicate honestly and with integrity.
- Leadership is seen in small and large actions. You always represent the church.
- Inspiration: Inspire God’s work in all you do, say, act, and think.
- Celebration of the big and small victories of the congregation, individuals, families, neighbors, volunteers, and staff.
- All voices should be included. Seek them when they are not actively participating.
- Simplify messages: Acronyms. Overusing acronyms leads to disconnection and miscommunication. Keep them to a minimum. If you use them, write out the entire word or phrase, then, in parenthesis, write out the acronym. This makes it easier for your audience to relate the acronym to its parent.
- Ensure accuracy in reporting and remember accuracy matters.
- Consistency is key. Inconsistency creates confusion. Consistent messaging includes the Conference website, your church website, and your public and private conversations online and offline.
As we move toward the launch of our new conference in January 2022, laity and clergy must create and share a common language. Our new word culture should reflect accuracy and belonging.
LANGUAGE TO AVOID
- The word MERGER. We are creating a new conference, not merging two conferences. Though a perfectly good word and one that applies in the legal creation of the new conference, it is a word we want to avoid outside of legal communications. Currently, we are the Future Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference.
- ACRONYMS and ABBREVIATIONS. Where possible, avoid them because they may lead to disconnection, confusion and alienation. Acronyms and abbreviations, especially those unique to The United Methodist Church, can be hard to interpret. They may not be hospitable. If you must use an acronym or abbreviation, spell it out on the first reference with the complete term in parentheses behind. Or consider creating a “key” that defines the acronyms and abbreviations you are using.
GLOSSARY OF PRE-LAUNCH LANGUAGE
- Adaptive Leadership – a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments by taking on the gradual but meaningful process of change. (Read more at Cambridge-leadership.com)
- Advisory Team – This team includes lay and clergy representatives from the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences. Members have been meeting regularly during the creation of the Future Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference
- Connectional Table – the hub of the connectional structure that includes a seat for the resident bishop and representatives of all current strategy teams, administrative and missional. Members of the Table work in covenant as an adaptive team to steward the strategies, vision and ministries of the conference for missional effectiveness.
- East Side – Former Tennessee Conference (middle Tennessee)
- Future Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference — the organization that will launch Jan. 1, 2022
- Guide Team – Smaller than the Advisory Team (listed above), this team is overseeing completion of the creation of the Future Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference: transition, organization, structure, staffing, budget and more
- Joint Distributing Committee – a committee defined in Para. 1509 of The Book of Discipline. When two annual conferences are to be merged to form a new conference, there shall be elected by each conference affected a distributing committee of three members and three alternates, which shall act jointly with similar committees from the other conference or conferences. The joint distributing committee thus formed shall have power and authority: (a) to allocate the pension responsibility involved; (b) to distribute equitably the permanent funds and all other pension assets of the conference or conferences affected, taking into consideration the pension responsibility involved; and (c) to the extent not otherwise previously provided for by the conference or conferences involved, to apportion or distribute equitably any other assets or property and any other liabilities or obligations. It shall be governed by the legal restrictions or limitations of any contract, trust agreement, pledge, deed, will, or other legal instrument.
- Joint Ministries – Those ministries of the Memphis and Tennessee conferences that have already combined and are functioning collaboratively
- Legacy – a reference to the two conferences (Memphis and Tennessee) that are coming together to create the Future Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference
- Strategy Team – a team of people in covenant with one another working to plan and implement actions and find solutions to attain one or more conference goals or move the conference in an agreed direction using collaboration, learning and spiritual discernment. Each Strategy Team has representation at the Connectional Table.
- Tennessee-Western Kentucky Annual Conference — annual meeting that will begin in 2022, probably in June
- TWK – Tennessee Western Kentucky
- West Side – Former Memphis Conference (west Tennessee and western Kentucky)