Today Mahala (the church's admin. assist.) and I drove to Bloomington for a workshop on church communications. We learned lots of valuable stuff.
One of the things I'm going to remember most, however, will be the speaker's critique of many church comm. pieces which, she said, made people feel self-conscious or guilty.
Examples were a flyer for a kid's program that said, "Where children go to learn values", which implied that the parents didn't teach values.
Or a brochure for credit counseling that said, "When your monthly bills are larger than your paycheck - we can help."
Or a counseling program that said, "Problems can be overwhelming. We can help you get through them."
She said that nobody picked up those pieces, and nobody came for help. So she redesigned them. The credit counseling piece said, "Do you know someone whose bills are larger than their paycheck? Tell them we can help."
The counseling service slogan became: "When a friend suffers grief or loss, let them know about (the counseling center)."
Though nobody would pick up the literature for themselves, they readily picked it up when it suggested they were helping a friend. These redesigned outreach pieces were much more effective. Calls to the agencies went up, and lots of people were helped. Doesn't that make sense?
So - I had a stroke of genius. Here's how to get past the embarrassment people feel at admitting they have spiritual needs; the church needs to design a brochure with the heading -
"Is someone you know going to hell?"
Don't you think that's a great idea? Neither did the workshop leader.
But I made some pastors laugh.