Hello... My name is Neal.

Church Comunicator

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?

Romans 10:14-15a

About Neal

As the Director of Communication for the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Neal supports the Office of the Bishop, assistants, tables, auxiliaries, and congregations to build strong communication between the Synod and pastors, lay rostered leaders, congregational councils, members in the congregations, as well as communicating needed information to congregations from the wider church. He assists in building relationships with and strengthening communities of the South Carolina Synod as well as helping maintain and develop partnerships with external communities to connect the Synod with local and global ministry opportunities. Neal’s calling is to guide the Church to increase its use and understanding of digital ministry and communications through social media, presentations, and online video.

Prior to his calling to be a communicator for the Church, he worked as a teacher, radio announcer, and professional singer. He has a teaching certification from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of South Florida.

Neal is married to the Rev. Michele C. Fischer, an ELCA pastor and chaplain. Together they help each other in their callings and in daily living.

Professional Skills

Ability

  • to envision, create, and manage comprehensive
    strategic plans for internal and external communications
  • to multitask in order to achieve the desired outcomes within the timeframe allowed
  • to create and implement brand standards for
    organizations

Collaboration

  • with congregations
  • colleagues
  • ecumenical partners
  • the larger church
  • ministry partners

Experienced

  • in the production of print and electronic media
  • in the creation and use of content management systems for web development
  • in planning the areas of communication, presentation, and production for large events and meetings

Focused

  • on improving communications content and presentation through analytics and personal feedback

Leader

  • in the use of video and live-streaming events
  • in the use of social media in the church

Understands

  • information technology issues including networking, software, and purchasing
  • the need for professionalism and confidentiality requirements of working for the larger church

Work Examples

Here are some examples of my recent work.

Crisis Communications

Emanuel Nine Shooting and Flooding in 2015

With the shootings in Charleston, national news outlets descended on our congregations, pastors, and the bishop. Helping them be prepared for some of the questions they would be facing helped to diffuse a number of situations through the early weeks of coverage. During the flood, we turned around quick stories and photographs helping to raise $200,000 within the synod. Those same stories helped LDR raise an additional $200,000.

SCSynod.com and eNews

Rebuilt from the ground up to be “mobile first” in design.

The website has moved from a series of static pages to a content management system based site. When I first arrived, the website was averaging 1,800 visits a year. Today, it receives 23,000 per year. Visitors have moved from consuming the site completely from their desktop to a place where 50% of the site’s visitors come from phones or tablets. Likewise, The South Carolina Lutheran eNews moved to a mobile first design which has led to a 50+% open rate and a 20+% clickthrough rate with that growth being led by mobile usage. Both numbers are approximately double the average of most religious institutions according to our provider.

ELCA World Hunger “Big Game” Challenge

Video & Marketing Campaign

The Carolina Panthers played the Denver Broncos in the “Big Game,” the North and South Carolina Synods took on the Rocky Mountain and Grand Canyon Synods in the annual challenge. The two Carolina synods raised over $33,000 in under two weeks helping combine for a total of $77,000 for ELCA World Hunger.

The South Carolina Lutheran Magazine

Rebranded

Print is a declining method of communication. Yet, it remains a main source of information for some members. In the three years prior to my arrival, the magazine was losing 1,100 subscribers per year. After a redesign, and adding writers, we’ve lost a total of 1,200 over the last three years. A dramatic slowing of loss that is naturally occurring.

Special Services

Each year I work with our NBC affiliate to live broadcast a Christmas Eve service from a Columbia area congregation. Purchasing quality production and streaming equipment, I was also able to webcast a special Reformation service from another congregation. There were over 500 viewers live from as far away as Germany.Each year I have been blessed to work with our NBC affiliate to live broadcast a Christmas Eve service from one of our congregations in Columbia. By purchasing quality production and streaming equipment I was also able to webcast a special Reformation service from another of our congregations. There were over 500 views live from as far away as Germany.

Teaching

Presentation at eFormation event in Columbia.

I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to teach with eFormation, online video interviews, and helped to host the #ChSocM (Church Social Media) Twitter Chats created by Meredith Gould, author of The Social Media Gospel.

I’ve been a Church Communicator for Over 10 years

What Others Say

“Neal is an innovative and creative communicator with a deep passion for the future of the Church. He is a dedicated professional who explores the changing boundaries of his field with enthusiasm and wisdom.”

Bob Fisher

Assistant to the Bishop for Mission Interpretation and Communications, ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod

“Neal is a treasured colleague who has a deep understanding of the evangelical call a church communications professional has to share the gospel and to help parishes, organizations and individuals in the Church do he same. His knowledge and skill level with all social media, websites, blogs and AV equipment is top notch. He has a vision for using technology and digital and participatory media to further God’s work in the world. He is always willing and ready to mentor others and doesn’t hold back when it’s time to do the best we can do as Synod and Diocesan Communicators.”

Carrie Graves

Director of Communications, The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

“Neal is a consummate professional. His attention to detail and expert knowledge provided an excellent service to our production. Neal goes beyond the call of duty to make things happen. His friendly and gentle personality make him a pleasure to work with.”

Ava Martin

Assignment Manager, WTTW/Chicago PBS “Chicago Tonight”

“Neal has been a valued colleague who has found innovative ways to use Web technology (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, video, and webcasting) to connect the people of the ELCA South Carolina Synod with what’s going on nationally in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”

Ben McDonald Coltvet

Project Manager for Web Resource, Luther Seminary

Need Help?

Let’s Talk!

Contact Me

128 Jefferson Place, Columbia, SC 29212

607-349-8072