God isn't bland. The Church shouldn't be, either.
Stop the Spoon-Fed Communication

I consulted with a great church recently who asked a question I receive regularly.

“How many different ways should we be communicating with our attenders?”

Good question, right? Churches want to know if they’ve covered all of their bases when it comes to types and ways they can get the word out.

I understand this question. It seems it used to be a very valid communications strategy – the shotgun approach – spray all of your communication in as many directions as you can and hopefully it will hit.

I think a better question these days is…

“What few avenues of communication can we pour our all in, keep updated, so folks proactively keep up with what’s going on?”

Is it the bulletin? Announcements from the stage? Email newsletters? Text Messages? Online? What does that look like for you?

Less = More

It’s the approach that doing less actually has greater impact. It reduces noise and provides a distinct way your folks can access important information.

We’ve seen this play out in a hand full of churches my wife and I have been a part of. It seems the ones with less avenues of communication (including no bulletin) are the ones where we feel like we know more.

Why is this?

My Wife VS the GPS

Somehow I miss more turns when my wife, Katie, is with me than when I am driving by myself.

I thought about why this happens.

When Katie’s in the car I know in my subconscious she’s going to give me the point-of-the-finger or the audible, “turn here.” When she doesn’t, I miss turns. This happens a lot.

On the other hand, when I’m driving by myself, I’m either paying better attention to where I’m at, or listening intently to the GPS. I hardly miss turns.

Stop the Spoon Feeding!

Here’s the take away… When I know information is coming at me from all sides, I am more likely to be passive about retaining or listening. It’s like being spoon fed or riding a bike with training wheels – why do I have to worry or be pro-active about obtaining it?

When I have to navigate by myself I take ownership in and appreciate the information I’m obtaining.

Pour your best into one big communication avenue, and a few secondary ones, and I think you’ll be surprised by the results. Oh, and the free time.

Thoughts?

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  1. Amanda (Reply) on October 12th, 2011

    I completely agree. I think when people see the same information or graphics repeated on the pre-service screens, the bulletin, the website, the e-newsletter, etc. they tune out. I am a one person support team and the less time I need to spend spreading out information, the better. How do I determine (and then convince the pastoral staff) the best methods of communication for us?

  2. Matt (Reply) on October 12th, 2011

    I regularly work with a volunteer who seems to work more hours than I do with whatever ministry event she promotes trying to hit every angle and I’m constantly trying to slow her down. I’ll get emails from her time stamped 6 a.m. asking me why I didn’t include the 750-word description she sent to me as an email attachment (my frequent requests for copy and paste ignored) on the website and a whole list of other requests about how she can essentially do what your advising against.

    When the event comes and goes and the turnout is low she assumes it’s because we didn’t “communicate enough” and will then come back to me with additional ideas of how we can “better communicate.” But when I see other ministries like this crazy popular new sundress ministry we have do one or two simple things to get the word out and get an overwhelming response I end up thinking that more communication is hurting more than it’s helping.

  3. Danielle Hartland (Reply) on October 13th, 2011

    I 100% agree! This is great. The trick is getting your team on board…I think what Matt is talking about is the real art of “directing” communications.

  4. [...] I found a great article by the guys over at Media Salt called “Stop the Spoon-Fed Communication”. [...]

  5. [...] Every day during the holidays, MediaBLEEP is counting down our most popular posts of the 2011. Today’s post was our 5th most popular, originally published on February 4, and written by Cleve Persinger… “Stop the Spoon-Fed Communication.“ [...]

  6. Daryl Grunau (Reply) on September 28th, 2012

    Great article. I’ve always secretly wished that the old school bulletin concept would die and we’d quit printing it altogether. But your thoughts make a lot of sense. Repetition maybe the key to teaching and training but not to effective communication.


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