I can rarely hear the word perspective without hearing it in Anton Ego’s voice (from Ratatouille):
Server: Do you know what you’d like this evening, sir?
Anton Ego: Yes, I think I do. After reading a lot of overheated puffery about your new cook, you know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective…
Server: With what, sir?
Anton Ego: Perspective. Fresh out, I take it?
Server: I am, uh…
Anton Ego: Very well. Since you’re all out of perspective and no one else seems to have it in this bloody town, I’ll make you a deal. You provide the food, I’ll provide the perspective…
Ego’s response is very enlightening for the church. We provide the music, the sermon, the environment for worship, the structure, but the people in the pews (or chairs, or online) provide the perspective.
As church communicators, we can try to frame ourselves, our organization, or our mission in the best light, in an effort to alter people’s perspectives. We can show them the best of who we are, who we are trying to be, and what we are trying to become. But we can also be authentic about who we aren’t, what we’re not trying to be, and our boundaries. We just need to present all of these with the understanding that each person brings their own perspective.
Eventually, people will see us from the back. They will get out of their seats and volunteer, or join a small group, and really get to know us. As their perspectives change, will they find us to be even more of what we said we were, or will they see the fluff?
I’m not advocating that we air our dirty laundry, but that we be authentic in our communications.
How can we, as church communicators, present the good news in authentic ways?