Just because you said it doesn’t mean I heard it
Communication is series of messages being sent and received. The goal is to make sure the message sent is received by the other person in the same way it was sent. That rarely happens. Don’t believe me? Think about the last communication “misfire” you had with your spouse or children.
What seems obvious to us sometimes isn’t as obvious to the other person. As the message sender, we must assume the responsibility of making sure we are heard in a way that is consistent with our intentions.
An area of ministry many pastors struggle with as far as what to say, how to say it, and when to say it, is stewardship. The area of ministry that impacts every other area of ministry is the same subject that few pastors feel prepared or empowered to address with clarity and confidence.
When it comes to the conversation of stewardship, we have to be absolutely sure what we say is what others hear.
A few weeks ago, Katya Andresen, an recognized expert in nonprofit communications theory and practice, highlighted 3 reasons why an organization’s message isn’t getting through to the intended audience:
- “Field of Dreams” syndrome. The “If you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work when it comes to your stewardship campaign. You must have a solid strategy of how you’re going to engage givers past the point of putting a “Give Now” button on your website.
- “It’s all about us” disease. Even though we hear, speak, and live our stewardship messages every day, our church members don’t. We have to remember that the person in the pew is probably thinking about 1,000 other things during any given weekend experience. We can’t make it all about us otherwise they won’t pay attention. We have to communicate what the vision means to them, why should they care, and what can they accomplish?
- “Call to inaction” problem. Even though you’ve captured their attention, you still have to get them to act. The key is to have a specific and clear way for your church members to take action. This is often the easiest step in the process, but it’s the most important.
When it comes to talking about stewardship, we have to remember that it’s likely we’ll exhaust ourselves thinking about it before the many of the people in your church ever pick up on what you’ve been saying all along.
Is it possible that your church’s lack in growth in giving is the result of a failure to communicate, challenge, and provide a clear call to action? If so, what adjustments will you make to your approach?