- Channel topics
- Finding faithHow people become Christians
- Effective communicationApproaches for biblical communication
- Bridge the gapMeeting people on the common ground of their interests & needs
- Bridging opportunitiesExamples and opportunities for using the Bridge Strategy
- Using cultureTypes of culture; understanding & using culture in evangelism
- Websites that workIssues for site planning, usability and promotion
- Problems in evangelismThings that stop us being effective
- Mission opportunitiesDigital evangelism & cross-cultural mission, mission & literature resources
- Writing wellHow to write effectively for the web or print media
A Communication Channel page
... our resource covering a wide range of evangelism issues
View entire listing here or use left-hand subject menu.
Free: articles are freely available to republish or adapt for print media, and can be syndicated into websites using a simple insert code.
Reader’s Digest – a style to follow
A template for effective communication
The enormous popularity of Reader's Digest over 80 years suggests that they have learned something in communication techniques! The magazine therefore offers approaches that we can use in writing for the web:
- It aims at the reading level of a 13-year-old, yet does not talk down to adults.
- It uses many true real-life stories about people. “People are interested in people.”
- These stories are told in a dramatic way, usually with a key element of the person's story as a lead-in.
- Stories use plenty of quoted speech: “He said... She called back...” etc.
- It addresses practical problems and worries, and offers ideas to help readers improve their quality of life. In other words, it addresses felt needs which is a key strategy in evangelism.
- Humor is mixed with serious articles.
You may or may not feel that Reader's Digest articles are ‘samey’, with articles edited and revised to a rigidly-imposed housestyle. But they understand their readership and know how to communicate effectively with it. 100 million people read the magazine in 48 editions and 19 languages, and content for national editions is sourced at least 50% locally so that readers do not perceive the magazine as being foreign to them – i.e. American in origin.
Their style has much to teach us about effective communication in evangelism. Pastor Josh Hunt suggests this approach should be integral to our communication.
People needing peopleAlmost every feature in the magazine is people-related. Even items designed to teach every-day medicine and health-care are full of personal illustration, or even personalized thus: "I am John's heart". The wise Christian communicator, whether she is a college lecturer teaching philosophy, or whether he is a Sunday School teacher for 5-year-olds, knows that people learn best through stories, anecdotes, and people-related illustrations.
Reader's Digest has some online articles taken from recent issues, with links to many of the different language and national Reader’s Digest editions. Guideposts uses a similar editorial style, from a Christian perspective.
related pages within the Writing well menu links
recommended books on writing, including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry