CCP and the Future

Published on April 14, 2018 by in Features, News

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CCP and the Future: Responding to Change

Early last year the CCP executive initiated an e-mail discussion with members about these changes, and what they mean to the organization. There was follow-up discussion at the 2017 AGM in Quebec City in June, and a live online discussion in September.

Taking these various consultations into account, the executive established a committee to produce a discussion document (below). The goal is to hold another in-person discussion at our AGM in Hamilton (May 2-4) where members can provide feedback and let us know if we should continue to proceed in this direction. If that is the way people feel we should go, it will be brought to the 2019 AGM for a vote.

If you cannot be at this year’s convention, please share your thoughts with us by email. Your feedback is welcome!

The Future of the CCP: A Discussion Document

The world of communications and journalism is changing fast. Publications—both secular and church-based alike—are challenged on many fronts. Each year more publications close, including church-based publications.

Canadian Church Press (CCP) is caught up this change, along with its members. The question facing us is: How doe we respond to these changes? How do we adapt so that the organization continues to serve its members, and all those who are professional Christian communicators both now and in the future?

Current Situation

Currently, the CCP’s membership model is based on publications. Specifically, the constitution states that membership is open to “Christian print and web-based periodicals published in Canada” that are circulated regionally, nationally or internationally.

While this model has worked well for decades, the decline in the number of publications is problematic. Since 2001, the CCP has lost 32 publications, most of them to closure (three in 2017 alone). Since the future for many others does is also uncertain, this puts the future of the CCP at risk.

A Possible Course of Action

While publications are in peril, it can be said that there has never been more communication than ever before, and in so many different ways—much of it online. And many Christians still feel called to be communicators in mainstream journalism, church publications, or as bloggers, graphic and visual artists, on social media and other ways.

With that in mind, we are suggesting that CCP consider changing its membership model from being publication-based to being based on a combination of publications and individuals. At the same time, we suggest changing the name to Canadian Christian Communicators (CCC) to reflect that communication today is no longer “press” based, but takes place in many different ways.

This change would allow us to cast a vision for an organization of Christian communicators that engages the world in a broader way (beyond only publications), and that makes it possible for many more people to consider joining—Christians who are involved in journalism, public relations, communications, editing, and design work for church publications, non-profit agencies, NGOs, in the wider marketplace, as freelancers, or as bloggers.

The goal would be the same: To offer support, networking, training, community, and opportunities to gather through an annual convention, and to promote the creation of effective, engaging, and high-quality communications in various forms. Awards would still be offered to publications that continue to value them.

Communicators who could benefit from CCC include editors, reporters, writers, communication coordinators (denominational, local church, ministry organization), social media coordinators, videographers, bloggers, public relations professionals, graphic designers.

It is possible that smaller subgroups or cohorts may develop on the basis of location or specialization, e.g. the Winnipeg Christian communicators’ group, which organizes its own meetings and training events (Barefoot). Also, bloggers or designers might form a group based on their affinity rather than location.

Concluding Comments

Now, perhaps more than ever before, there is a need for good, high-quality and trustworthy communications. At the same time, economic challenges make the future of publications and the CCP uncertain. By expanding the concept of membership to all Christians who produce communications, while continuing to value, support and award the good work of existing member publications, a new organization can harness our collective strength, knowledge and energy to help many people follow their call to communicate about our faith to the wider world.

One Response to “CCP and the Future”

  1. Lloyd Mackey says:

    I am coming late to this discussion but believe, on three counts, to have something to contribute. Firstly, I am an honorary member of CCP (2007) and, at 78, have over half a century of community and faith-based journalism under my belt. And second, I am serving in an interim role as board chair of The Word Guild. Thirdly, I have been working closely with Peter Stockland, both on Faith in Canada 150 and on strategizing for the future of TWG. While I am, at 78, trying to wind down from all this, I like, in general, the thrust of the report and would be happy to offer some counsel or even advocacy on its move forward.

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