Part of the goal in reaching people is to advocate for your audience. What do they need? What do they want? How can you remove barriers to their receiving information?
Repeat the Message
Many well meaning ministry leaders are so entrenched in the church world day in and day out that it seems redundant to repeat the message. But whatever is worth communicating is worth communicating more than once.
Whatever is worth communicating is worth communicating more than once.Phil Bowdle
Think like your audience
Too often, we announce, write, publish and share information from our point of view. We assume people know general details (like acronyms or the history behind things) because we do. As a result, we fail to explain well.
In our context, we often abbreviate United Methodist Church to UMC. The first time I encountered a legitimate mix-up was when a young college student was coming to meet me. I rattled off our address with “UMC” and he looked for the University of Missouri, Columbia, assuming there must have been a campus in our little town.
How can you remove barriers to your message as you share information? Start by thinking like your audience.
Don’t Overwhelm Them
Most church bulletins and other publications are too full. Most churches crowd in so much information that people have no idea what they are supposed to look at, let alone take action on. Think like your audience and limit the amount of intake they will have.
Limit Call to Action invitations for your church to one or two per week, especially when inviting people during corporate worship times.
I like the three filters in Phil Bowdle’s book, Rethink Communication. Ask these questions when deciding what to promote during large worship times in your church:
- Does it impact 80% of our congregation?
- Is it a direct next step that could add value to those in attendance?
- Is it a key on-ramp to a ministry?
Limiting information with these clarifying questions may seem hard after living with so much all the time. But they help you advocate for your church audience.
I learned a valuable lesson long ago. When I started attending conferences and seminars, I ferociously wrote down everything I could. I walked away with fifteen things to remember and failed to remember any of them. I eventually decided there would always be another seminar or conference, so my goal became leaving with one or two ideas. My personal axiom became, “It’s better to remember two things than to not remember 20.”
Too much information can paralyze your audience into not taking action. Remove that barrier and watch engagement rise.
Repeating your message, thinking like your audience and limiting information are ways of advocating for your audience. Keep seeking ways to think about communication from your congregation’s perspective.
If you’re in the process of sprucing up your church communication, this is the book you need to get today! Share it with your staff! As we continue through this pandemic with no in-person worship service, now may be a time to think about future changes for our worship gatherings.