Friday, May 27, 2016

How to Let People Know, "It's All About Us."

Churches in my tradition often post pictures of their church edifice on their website home page.

While it may communicate pride in the building, the congregation, or the church itself, what does it really communicate?

It's all about us.

One thing I've learned from watching HGTV and the shows that involve the sale of a home involves the staging process. The key to connecting with a potential buyer is giving every opportunity for that investor to imagine themselves in that space. Overly personal clutter takes away that imagination. Insider artifacts and language overpowers any story being told about the good things happening in the congregation.

When making public invitations to connect with a congregation, be aware of what you communicate. Using "us" as part of church language (or other first person plural language), or overly focusing on insider things prevents people from imagining themselves as part of the community. Church websites and social media are often like walking into a room where all of the people are telling each other inside jokes, and you have no idea what anyone is talking about.

Try telling stories about your community. Stories invite people to imagine the observer in that place. Don't tell people it's a welcoming and friendly church (lots of churches say that); let the stories speak for themselves.

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