Helping People Become Quitters for the Kingdom

Standard

Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like has published a new book called Quitters.  Here’s a great video introduction to the thoughts behind the book.


I, and some of my friends, are quitters.  We were once employed in ‘the real world,’ but someone said something that made us realize that the someone who God created us to be needed to be let out to do something for which only we were created.  We may have been asked to volunteer at church in an area that seemed less like work than our ‘real’ jobs (thanks, Donna).  Then we may have been asked to work at the church in an area that was way more work for way less money than our jobs (thanks, Dave).  Somewhere in the process the someone that we were supposed to become got to do the something that we were meant to do, and we quit.

Pastors, think about how many pew warmers could be setting the Kingdom on fire for God, and ask God how you can help.
———————–
Leaders, find that something in people that they are not being asked to give in the workaday world and offer to let them do it for Him.
———————–
Quitters, stop dreaming about what you would rather be doing and figure out how you can do it and become the someone God created you to be.


Free Creative Communication Stuff!

Standard

I love coupons, discounts, and sales, but I love free even more.  Here are a few resources where you can get free stuff to help your church communicate creatively:

http://www.creationswap.com/

http://www.worshiptogether.com

http://open.lifechurch.tv/

http://www.churchleaders.com

http://wesleyansermons.com/

http://www.youtube.com/WesleyanHQ

Do you know about other good, free resources?  Share them with us!

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

Standard

Near the end of Cool Hand Luke, when Luke says, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” he is mocking the captain, who delivered a similar line to Luke and the other prisoners two escape attempts earlier in the movie.

The captain had an idea about communication as a uni-directional passing of information. He was the boss, and what he said was the only thing that mattered. It was the job of the follower (in this case, the prisoner) to listen and obey.

Luke communicated through his rebellion that he understood but was unwillng to follow. The sarcastic irony of the repetition of the line by the follower to the leader highlights the problem with uni-directional communication. Luke completely understood what the captain was saying through his speeches and his discipline, but the captain had no idea what Luke was saying through his escapes and rebellion. Luke was right; what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.

At this point you may be thinking, I’m not a prison warden, so what does this have to do with me and my creative communication?

In the creative communication process, sometimes we lose sight of the nature of the person we are communicating to – that nature which Luke confesses to just before delivering this classic line. Luke knew who he was, but the captain didn’t, and so the captain’s communication to Luke was lost.

When you create communication that is going out to your community, do you write it in the church’s language or in the language of the community? Do you offer unchurched people fellowship with a missional body of believers based in the Word? I hope that is who your church is, but do you realize that a rebellious generation doesn’t understand what that means? 

Think about an unchurched neighbor or co-worker. If you just walked up to them and started talking about what you did last Sunday, how would you define it? What words would you use? Now, use those words as you are writing the invitation to your church. Use those words on your webpage, enews, bulletin, and whatever creative communication media you send out to the community.

Creative Storytelling

Standard

Lately, books, blogs, conferences, and articles have instructed us to change our communication style, because this postmodern generation learns through story. This is reported as breaking news, as if it’s a new phenomenon just discovered in this millenium. 

Aristotle said, “It is metaphor which most produces knowledge.”

Storytelling is not a new concept (Aristotle wrote Rhetoric over 2300 years ago). The call should actually be to a return to storytelling that is meaningful; to the use of metaphor to produce knowledge.

In the church of my youth, the sermon exposited the gospel reading of the day, explaining what it meant during the time that it was written. I learned a lot about Bible history, but never connected what was written on those pages with how I should live my life. Even when Jesus used metaphor, the story was explained as to what it meant then, not now. The metaphor was not transferred to present day, to aid me in diagnosing my own sinful condition as compared to the holiness of God and prescribing a cure.

Church communicators who translate this postmodern generation’s desire for storytelling into a need to show YouTube videos that are funny (http://bit.ly/1ahoiS) could be missing the mark. If you can fit a trunk monkey into your series promo or sermon to illustrate truth, go for it. But if you play it just for laughs, you haven’t told a story – you just added noise to the communication process that potentially blocked people from hearing the truth.

When you are creating your church’s promotional collateral, announcements, worship set, and sermons, do you think in metaphor? Do you consider exactly what word/picture/video/song would best communicate truth and produce knowledge to this generation?

———————————————————————–

Application: In John Mark McMillan’s song How He Loves, one line says “So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss.” When David Crowder Band covered the song, this line was changed to “So heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss.” In an interview (full text found here: http://bit.ly/1ihiHj), Crowder said,

As the band researched the song, they found that churches had been put off by the term “sloppy wet kiss”. David says that some found nothing appealing about it. Others thought that the word “sloppy” should never be associated with a God who is so precise and engaged in the lives of His people. As a band, they had a decision to make.
“I was disappointed in this,” he confesses. “It’s a shame that many church settings are missing out on this because of those words. It means that the metaphor didn’t work for some people. Those who love the song already have it and have experienced it. So it was a no-brainer. I’m very careful with what we put in front of people that gives [them] an understanding of who God is what He does, how He interacts with earth, and this is one place that I would not assign sloppiness.”

No matter how you feel about the lyric, it’s the thought process behind the metaphor that is important. You need to know your audience and what metaphor will best communicate truth in your environment.