Just Who Do Your Think You’re Talking To?
BY KEM MEYER
Your audience is living in a world of infinite choices and constant advertising bombardment. They are overcommitted, over stimulated, overstressed and just plain fed up. Many are existing day-to day, going through the motions of being alive, yet dying inside. They’re looking for answers. Answers that will make a real difference in their lives. But instead, they face a barrage of information that not only fails to lift them up, it actually drains them — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
How should the church respond? Not by dumping more information and adding to the confusion, or the Gospel will be lost in the torrential downpour of worthless information. We know that culture operates on the premise that more is better: “If we create more, we create more value.” And this societal impulse to create more and do more has resulted in information overload. So communication the church may intend to be helpful is just perceived as noise or junk mail. People shut down. Stop listening. Move on. Just because we’re the church, do you think we’re perceived any differently than any other advertiser or telemarketer out there? We’re not.
As a recovering spin doctor from the corporate communications industry, I’m continually reevaluating my ingrained ways of delivering a message. As a matter of fact, my role today is less about distributing a message and more about discovering how those messages are consumed — or not. It’s a responsibility I take so seriously that I’m considering changing my title from “communications director” to “consumer advocate.”
It’s time to turn down the volume. We have the opportunity to reduce the “noise” in people’s lives. By simplifying what our audience sees and touches, we can make every aspect of their engagement with the church easier and more rewarding.
We can craft a new experience for our guests. How? By addressing what they really need and want – not what we think they should need and want. And, believe it or not, we can help accomplish this by better organizing our bulletins, brochures and Web sites and communicating in language that builds trust instead of walls.
When they can sit back, take a breath and make sense out of things, our guests are more open to hearing about their next step toward Christ. And, when we remove the obstacles to their understanding God’s incredible love for them, they just might feel empowered to actually take that step.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”