“The community isn’t listening to my church” is a difficult statement many Pastors exclaim. Is it that the church message is wrong? Is it that people don’t want spiritual truth? Or are there other reasons the community isn’t listening?
It’s important to make sure your gospel message isn’t ignored. Often the church can be blamed for the way the message is communicated though. If you find your community isn’t listening to your church messaging, there’s usually 3 reasons why (with their solutions):
- It’s a noisy world. People are bombarded with so much information every day. Desired information and unfortunately unwanted too. Promotional, entertaining, and informational. In fact, notifications interrupt online communication to redirect us to even more information. TV has lower-thirds scrolling over talking heads with informational graphics behind them — all at the same time! It’s impossible to keep up with everything. In fact, if you try, you end up missing details. For sanity, people have to decide what’s important and what’s ignorable. If anything feels like it’s adding-to-the-noise, for no perceived benefit, it’s simply tuned out. SOLUTION: Calm your messaging and designs for all channels. Rather than several disconnected and complex messages, speak in unison with one main beneficial message (across all your ministries) so you become known for it. On calm webpages, people tend to spend more time!
- You’re not talking to them. We’ve been there: a busy room with lots of discussions. You end up ignoring all the communication channels because nothing feels directed to you. Until someone says your name. Then you listen! In our loud, noisy world, if messaging isn’t directed at specific people in your community, it will usually be ignored. Then, when your community isn’t listening, it’s difficult to get them to pay attention again. The sad truth? Our communities stopped listening a longtime ago as our church communication focused internally on our congregations using acronyms, insider language, and clever sub-brands that didn’t connect outside. SOLUTION: Know who you’re talking to in your community (called personas) and say their name (ie. Parents), their pain (ie. Have problems finding time?), or a solution to their needs (ie. Finally, a night out on us!) and you’ll get their attention for a few seconds. It’s in that brief engagement that you need to give them beneficial information.
- You’re saying too much. Attention-spans are dropping drastically. A study from a few years ago determined they’re as low as 8 seconds! The community isn’t listening because they lost interest faster than it took for you to deliver your message. Stop talking before they stop listening! It’s difficult though to say everything we want because the Bible is full of great messages! SOLUTION: Edit your communication to attract and engage. Only after they trust you to not waste their time, can you give them more. Even then, edit, edit, edit. Lead with their name, concern, or goal, then give them a snippet so they will click to find out more. Or keep listening because you understand and love them!