Cross Connection Editorial Guidelines

The primary goal of Cross Connection is to provide relevant and newsworthy stories for pastors and leaders in our 665 churches so we can equip them to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world to the glory of God.

Cross Connection is an online medium that informs our audiences about the qualitative measures of our vision and mission. It is published 22 times a year for the pastors and lay leadership of the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Notable stories are distributed through various social media channels. Newsworthy stories are pitched to United Methodist News Service (UMNS) and other news media. When a UMC leader is featured in a UMNS story and we are made aware of it, our staff runs the story in the following Cross Connection issue.

In each of our 22 issues, we will spotlight a feature, and articles from our conference’s three foci:  1. Investing in the Young (including We Love All God’s Children); 2. Developing Vital Congregations; and 3. Developing Transformational Lay and Clergy Leaders. (Otherwise known as Young, Vital and Leader.) The editorial staff does its best not to feature the same church or organization more than twice annually, although there are exceptions (subject to approval by the Director of Communications and/or the Assistant to the Bishop.)

Our story ideas come from various sources: 1. Our editorial calendar with themes for timely story ideas. Our writer interviews sources and writes stories from these ideas, 2. The writer and communications staff cold calls one church every week from a different district for a story idea and develops a story from these ideas. 3. Story ideas come in from our readership. Our writer interviews sources from these possible ideas and writes the story, and 4. The Director of Communications, District Superintendents and other cabinet members suggest story ideas based on what they are hearing in the field.

When stories are submitted to Cross Connection from outside sources, the content of information needs to be: 1. newsworthy and interesting to most of our readers, and 2. If it is a program, it needs to be accessible to everyone in the Texas Annual Conference. We no longer accept story ideas about books, or events outside of the Texas Annual Conference.

We pursue and prioritize story ideas based upon a congregation’s:  1. size: small membership vs. large membership; 2. location: rural vs. urban, and districtwide; 3. Diversity: interviewing sources from different ethnic groups and male/female genders.