People Gotta Know

Several churches in Los Angeles met recently to discuss how we could better unite and address issues of poverty, homelessness, education and other hot topics.

While talking about how we could broaden our conversation to include others in our church communities, an elder in the room stood up and addressed the group. Tony was from one of the nearby Catholic parishes responsible for the only seven-days-a-week feeding program in the area. They’ve gone from feeding a handful of people to nearly 150 every day for lunch, and dinner on Friday nights.

Yet Tony said most people in their parish didn’t know the ministry existed: “Despite printing something in the bulletin every week, our own people have no idea what’s going on.” Others in the room nodded in sympathetic frustration. The collective sigh sounded like this: “How can we get others in our church on board with social justice topics when it seems few even care?”

Stop assuming people get it. This is one of the most common communication mistakes among churches today. It’s not that people don’t care; it’s that you and I don’t care enough to make sure they know what to care about. Pick the top four to six things your church is really passionate about and invested in. If you can’t pull at random people from your congregation and have them say the same things, you’ve got a problem.

Now what are you going to do about it? People gotta know.

Brad Abare is the director of communications for the Foursquare denomination, founder of the Center for Church Communication, and president of Personality, a communication and marketing consultancy.

Need more ideas for communicating your church’s vision? Check out the Center for Church Communication’s Church Marketing Lab, a free open-source resource.

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