For years now at Harrah Church we have worked at helping people share their faith stories with others. We call this process Know Greater Love and it is purposed to help people become at ease with sharing their story and with finding creative ways at distributing those stories. Over the years we have created books of these stories, recorded video testimonies, emailed links to electronic versions of both of these resources, created platforms for people to share their stories and folded this process into our formal discipleship process/classes.
These books, videos and classes require the work of a network of volunteers who are acting to help others know the transformational and saving power found in a relationship with Christ. In the paragraphs that follow I will outline this process.
Know Greater Love Class
We host a series of classes called Discipleship Tracks that are designed to help those new to faith learn about how to Study the Bible, the importance of Prayer, Tithing and how to share their story. This last class we refer to as Know Greater Love and members spend four weeks in the class sharing their stories with the group, writing their stories out for book submission and learning how they can share their stories with others as they go throughout life. It is from these stories that our books are compiled.
Once the stories have been submitted they are sent to an editor who will go through the pages looking for grammatical errors and in some cases will meet with the writers to help them explore their story in greater detail.
Photography and Videography
More recently we have tried to set up photo shoots with the book participants so that we can put their head shot next to their story. Having the picture really helps people connect with the identity of the person and can help reshape perceptions about the kind of people within the church. In certain cases we shoot videos to accompany a Know Greater Love sermon series or to post to our web site and social spaces. In 2013 we used the pictures in our community outreach efforts like Facebook campaigns, billboards and invite cards.
Publishing and ePublishing
Once we have pictures and stories we are ready to begin putting together documents that can be published. We general start this process by creating Cover art. In the past we have used a picture of one of our story submitters or stock art or landscapes from around the church. As the years have progressed we have tried to pick cover art that will help the book connect based upon the stories inside. I use Adobe InDesign to create the Interior file. I use Adobe Photoshop to create the Cover. I make Cover art for the physical book and art to fit formats for Kindle and iTunes iBooks. I use iBooks Author to create the iBooks file and submit to iTunes using iTunes Producer. I am a big Apple fan and this process has been so easy to use.
We use CreateSpace, an Amazon.com subsidiary, to print our books and to submit our book for Kindle and for sale through Amazon.com. This process is simple and guided. Our printing costs have been between $2.50-$4.35 per book depending upon the number of stories and pages.
Once the books have been returned we put them for sale in our Bookstore and mail them or hand them out to our weekend service guests. We put links out to the digital versions, put PDF versions on the website and do a mass email alerting people about its availability. I will mail several copies to other church leaders to alert them about the people and stories that God has put in our church. This has resulted in our people being asked to share their stories with groups at other churches and camps.
That is a breakdown of how Know Greater Love makes its way from inspiration to transformation. This has been a great program and resource for the church and I encourage you and your church to consider how you are helping your people tell their faith stories. What platforms are you providing? How are you helping them learn to tell their story?