“We blame the people for not engaging in the mission. Sort of like a shepherd blaming the sheep for not going to the right pasture.” This analogy grabbing my attention was used by Rich Birch in his recent article, Eight Reasons People Aren’t Listening to Announcements.* “We need to understand why people stop listening and then shift our behavior to help them connect with those we seek to serve.”
What’s wrong with saying: “Sign up for our Lenten soup suppers in the Narthex?” When the Rev. Phil Hirsch of the synod staff tackled the topic in his blog post last year, Handling Announcements,** he recommended giving people a better idea about what you’re talking about. Instead try: “Lent is a time leading up to Easter when many Christians take time to focus on prayer and fasting or eating lightly. Every Wednesday night we are going to have a light supper and talk about how to pray, and we’d love to have you come. If you can, let us know ahead of time. That would be really helpful. Please look for the sign-up sheet as you exit on your left.”
Birch also challenges us not to use insider language – plus more direct ideas. So get off the “treadmill” (see point #8)! Have our churches got pastures to show you.
* Repost to Leading Ideas blog (2/25/15) of Wesley Seminary’s Lewis Center for Church Leadership
** Post to synod’s Staff Insights blog (4/8/14)