Man’s (second) Best Friend

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I read a lot.  Not because I enjoy reading.  I’m personally still waiting for them to make all of the literary classics into full-length feature films.  I’d buy a ticket to Dostoyevsky’s Idiot starring Mark Wahlberg or a Pixar version of Love in the Time of Cholera, voiced by Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.  I like my fiction on the big screen. 


I read because I am a student.  And when it comes to acquiring knowledge, nothing beats a book.  In less than 200 pages, you can read research that took thirty years to develop.  There is so much great information packed into a good book.  If you could change one thing about how you think, feel, or behave based on a truth you found in each book you read, think of who you would be after 50 books.  Fifty times wiser in 50 small things adds up to a much, much wiser you.


Since this is a blog about creative communication, you might expect me to suggest books on creativity to get you started.  But the thing is, the act of reading, reflecting on what you have read, and then changing is one of the most creative things you can do.  And, you get the benefit of hearing other people’s perspectives, which enhances your creativity.  


Here’s the book that has 30 years of research packed into less than 200 pages: The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need To Know by James M. Kouzes and Barry Pozner (2010).  Kouzes and Pozner are well respected in the field of organizational leadership, and they have written numerous academic articles about their research.  This book is easy to read and full of practical advice about improving your leadership.  In the past few months, I have had an experience to which I have been able to apply their advice that failure is “one of the best teachers you can have.”  This is a new belief that I have added to my leadership wisdom.


What book have you read lately, and what has it added to your creativity and wisdom? 


“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.

  Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

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Inductive Creative Communication

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In Inductive Bible Study, we learn to read the verse, then read the pericope (the section that gives the verse context), then read the sections immediately preceding and following the pericope, then the chapter, and then do the reverse back down to the verse again. Have you ever thought of doing this same thing with your creative communication, but through the lens of people’s lives? In other words, look at the teaching point you are going to use as your main text, and then think about that text in context of a person’s personal relationship with Christ, then in the context of their relationships with their immediate family and friends, then in the context of their marketplace relationships, then to the global community, then reverse it back to the text of your communication. Thinking about your listeners’ context will make your communication relevant. 

Just as in Inductive Bible Study, we sometimes have to use outside help to better understand the context.  What do you know about the context of your listeners/readers, and how can you develop a better understanding of it?

Pastors: Be Encouraged!

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This blog post is dedicated to pastors and church staff who creatively communicated the Gospel this weekend and may be feeling a bit drained this morning.

Mailers, flyers, cards, and tweets went out to draw people to Easter Sunday services.  A lot of creativity went into producing services that conveyed the joyous resurrection of Jesus Christ and the wonderful gift of salvation that He brings.  Churches will follow up with people who raised their hands, checked a box, stood up, or bowed their heads. 

Whether you had thousands or are still waiting on the one, the thing that matters most isn’t how creative your marketing collateral or relevant your message or quick your follow-up.  On this day after Resurrection Sunday, can you say this?

I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
    I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
    of your unfailing love and faithfulness. Psalm 40:10 (NLT)

Because really, when it comes down to it, God just asks us to tell others about Him.  It helps others to receive the message if we are creative, relevant, and persevering, but God has called us to talk about His faithfulness and saving power, to tell everyone that gathers about his unfailing love and faithfulness.  If you didn’t keep the good news of his justice hidden in your heart, but declared it yesterday, God is pleased with you.  It’s your job to tell everyone.  It’s God’s job to produce fruit.

It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it. Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)