Guidelines for Writing

Writing Style

The appropriate tone for written communication coming from Pacific Union Conference organizations is professional but personal. It is friendly, simple, and conversational. It should not be overly formal or create distance and should avoid jargon that can be confusing to those who have not been steeped in the culture—and off-putting even to those who have. As a priesthood of all believ- ers, we respect all constituents and communicate in a peer-to-peer style rather than affecting an authoritarian tone. While recognizing that constituents in our territory range widely in terms of educational attainment, we aim to provide thought-provoking content that can be appreciated by adults who are engaged in a lifelong quest for deeper discipleship and understanding.

We want our readers to experience:

  • A sense that we are sharing a journey
  • A sense that we are curious and interested people’s stories
  • A sense that we seek to provide a sanctuary for spiritual awareness and growth
  • A sense of the sacred
  • A sense of gratefulness
  • A sense of commitment over the long term
  • “Living God’s Love.”

Within the content, we model:

  • accountability
  • authenticity
  • stewardship
  • straightforwardness
  • clarity
  • civility


We exhibit:

  • gratitude
  • honesty
  • courage
  • humility


We value:

  • integrity
  • openness
  • respect
  • love
  • kindness


Tips for Writing Engaging Content

It’s easy to write in a rote and formulaic way that has little change of engaging an audience. Think carefully before you write, first putting yourself in the place of an intended reader. What might this person care about or need to know? Why should they be interested in what you’re writing? What is at stake? The visual aspects of storytelling are also important. Are there images you could add that would bring your story to life? What about paying careful attention to paragraphing and line breaks—how your work appears on the page can either invite a reader or push them away. A few more tips:

  • Tell a story; don’t preach a sermon or deliver a report.
  • Find the human interest. Nobody cares very much about buildings.
  • Use short quotes from those you are writing about so your audience can hear their voices.
  • Use active, concrete language—nouns and verbs.
  • Vary your sentence length and structure.
  • Ask questions as you write—your interest in your topic will come through.
  • Consider the views of those who might see your topic differently.
  • Acknowledge complexity—it’s interesting.
  • Be authentic. Cultivate a writing voice that is uniquely yours.
  • Be unpredictable. Take that baptism story in a direction no one would have anticipated.
  • Come up with engaging titles. Subtitles are good too.
  • Show don’t tell—use details and vivid description to make your point.
  • Remember our four storytelling “buckets”—Roots, Culture, Reputation, Promise.