Mission and Vision

Communications Purpose

Iowa Conference Communications’ purpose (per the Book of Discipline, ¶ 609)

Provide advice and counsel concerning communications strategies relating tothe conference program, apportionment and benevolence interpretation, crisis management, and other matters as the cabinet and director may determine (609.b)

  •  Lead the conference in using new and emerging technologies as tools for ministry (609.a.8)
  • Provide guidance and training in effective communications for annual conference, district and/or local church leaders (609.a.5)
  • Lead the conference in developing effective relationships with the news media within the annual conference (609.a.6)
  • Provide the connectional relationship between the conference and United Methodist Communications (609.a.9)
  • Vision, Mission, and Wildly Important Goal of the Iowa Annual Conference

Iowa Conference Communications Goal

Effective communications is listed as the first alignment component in the Strategic Priorities (2013).

The goal, on the conference and district levels, and for communities of faith, is to be communicating so everyone understands, is involved, and stays connected.

This will lead us to

  • listen,
  • intentionally work to connect persons and communities as they live out their discipleship,
  • network and empower communicators to tell the stories of their communities of faith,
  • be nimble and adaptive in responding to and reflecting key messages,
  • foster diversity in our language and cultural contexts,
  • resource our communities, and 
  • utilize a variety of existing and emerging technologies.

Target Audiences

Iowa Conference Communications has several target audiences.  

  • Persons of the existing and emerging communities of faith in urban, suburban and rural contexts, from many cultures, speaking a variety of languages.  
  • People who are wanting to know more about The United Methodist Church in general, and, in particular, Iowa’s United Methodist communities of faith.  
  • Lay leadership of communities of faith and lay involved with district and conference committees, boards, and agencies.

Subsets of the primary audiences with whom we need to communicate with specific, targeted information include:

  • Annual conference staff
  • Local church leadership
  • Local news media
  • Clergy and lay pastors who serve the communities of faith.
  • Interfaith and ecumenical partners
  • Denominational connections.

    In addition there are other factors to consider, such as:

    • urban/suburban/rural
    • Large/medium/small church
    • Electronically connected/unconnected
    • Age groups
    • Theological diversity

    State of Technology 

    (adapted from United Methodist Communications suggestions)

    We must continue to make ourselves smart regarding technology. Today’s cutting edge technology is tomorrow’s old technology. Expanding social media presents new, ever-expanding and ever-changing opportunities. We will have the technical proficiency to use social media to communicate even more effectively. We will work to ensure that we use technology, media, and messaging effectively and efficiently.

    Key Communications Goals

    • Listen:We will, first and foremost, listen to our audiences and be generative in building communications strategies and solutions.
    • Tell the stories: We will tell the stories of mission and ministry and collaborate with others, within the conference and beyond, to tell their own mission and ministry stories.
    • Connect persons:We will connect persons and communities of faith so that they live out their discipleship in their own contexts and share their experiences with others, enabling self-resourcing and building partnerships.
    • Network and empower:We will network and empower persons to become “communicators,” telling their stories, communicating their experiences, and teaching/coaching enhanced communications skill sets.
    • Be nimble and adaptive:We will be nimble and adaptive as we respond to changing circumstances and will reflect the key messages of our common L3 (loving, learning, leading) experience, enabling collaborative ministry to emerge and flourish.
    • Foster diversity:We will foster diversity in language and contextually. We will intentionally make the website and other electronic and other resources available in English and other languages.
    • Resource:We will resource existing and emerging communities of faith of the Iowa Conference and their lay and clergy leadership in collaboration with persons from the Iowa Conference and beyond.
    • Utilize technologies:We will utilize a variety of existing and emerging technologies as we live more fully into the “digital world.”
    • Crisis communications:We will offer direct, engaged crisis communications support and coordination, as circumstances dictate, for the conference and for local communities of faith.

    Strategic Objectives

    Iowa Conference Communications will:

    • Develop an annual communications plan, including an editorial calendar for news, publications, and social media.

    • Enhance the use of social media to connect, communicate, enable collaboration, and be proactively, creatively current with emerging social media trends and platforms.

    • Partner with people in and beyond the Conference by developing a network of communicators within the Conference as well as beyond, embracing contextual, cultural, and ethnic diversity.

    • Develop teaching/coaching/training resources that will be responsive to the expressed needs of communities, persons, and groups of the Iowa Conference.  This will be done collaboratively with groups, such as, for example, the Board of Laity, Board of Ordained Ministry, and L3 teams.  Workshops and other in-person and electronically-supported events will complement resource collections.

    • Build community awareness of the Iowa Conference and UMC through Hope Made Real branding, an ongoing media presence, and partnerships with United Methodist Communications, other denominational agencies, and ecumenical and interfaith connections.