OK, this one is mainly for pastors and church leaders admittedly...
Seth Godin had an interesting post on on his blog entitled "Are They Ready to Listen?" (I know you're wondering where I came up with this post's title...I don't know! They just come to me.).
His point was that marketeers and retail can sell and promote and use demographics all they want, but if people are not ready to listen...they won't. He adroitly demonstrates this with the story of selling activist manuals at a huge march in Washington D.C. He sold zero manuals. Why? People were there to march...not read about marching or read about protesting. They weren't ready to hear!
I wondered about this in the Church. I think too often leaders (especially pastors) assume that because people are at a church service, they are ready to hear. Perhaps...perhaps not.
I firmly believe we need to think and plan our communications and messages. Strategic planning is so vital. What is happening in the life of the church? What is happening in the life of the people? What plans has the church laid out to get people ready for an event/campaign/even a sermon series?
The big part of this is that we CANNOT instantly change people to be ready to hear! However, we can slowly and very intentionally cultivate and create environments that allow our message to be heard. I like to talk about "preaching somewhere," or asking the question, "where are we going?" Sermons, messages, and series should be taking the spiritual life of the church somewhere. Do we know where? If not why? Will we accomplish our goals just throwing ideas out there every Sunday hoping that someone puts it all together?
In the end, perhaps I'm advocating for just that: The Church needs to do a better job of helping people see how it all fits together...or how it doesn't quite fit together and how to wrestle with that. Just throwing out random ideas hoping that people catch on seems haphazard, lazy, and even worse, quite arrogant.
I'd like to hear some of your thoughts on this....