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Seven Ways Twitter Will Improve Your Preaching and Teaching

John Calvin published 22 volumes of commentaries on the Bible and Martin Lloyd-Jones published 9 volumes on Romans alone. What if you could remove all of the non-essential language, antiquated stories, and strip all of that knowledge down to some bite-sized, transportable truths? There is certainly room for argument against such condensation of historic works, but we have to realize that we live in a society inundated with more information in a day than Calvin consumed in a year.

In other words, the ability to be succinct and concise is worth gold when communicating truth in today’s culture. And Twitter helps. The ability to write volumes of words is impressive, but possibly not as impressive as the ability to take a deep and complex theological truth or spiritual application and package it in 140 characters or less.

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Attention: The Priceless Commodity of Marketing

Attention MarketingI won a book, Attention! This Book Will Make You Money!. It’s a book about how to use attention-getting online marketing to increase your revenue, by Jim Kukral. I read it in a couple of hours and it held my attention throughout, which is a really good start for a book on this topic!

Jim tells a pretty neat story about his attempt to get the attention of a well-known wealthy guy you may have heard of before – Mark Cuban. It worked, and it’s one of dozens of great examples Jim uses throughout the book of how to seize the attention of your intended audience/reader/consumer. It occurred to me just how important attention is, not only for marketing and earning revenue, but for publishing any kind of message.

You see, if no one is listening, it doesn’t matter how great our message is. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, nobody really cares whether it makes a sound or not. We’re just glad we didn’t get smashed.

I’ve heard plenty of times, in connection with the church that we should be “entertaining” people, but the very word entertain simply means to hold someone’s attention. Brainstorm with me. How can we get attention in ways that are meaningful, positive, and ethical? For the gospel, for our message, or even for our product, what works? What’s acceptable?

I’m going to address these questions and more over a few posts, but wanted to hear your feedback first. So, how does the concept of attention marketing grab you?

I Agree With Phil Cooke – Design Is the Language of This Generation

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Yes! Amen! Preach it, brother Phil!! Design is the language of this generation whether we’re ready for it or not. There’s a reason why I’m very passionate about the communication strategies adopted by the church and it is that we have the best content possible – the gospel, but often the worst framing for it!

Listen to what Phil Cooke says…

…today, we live in a design culture, and form has become a critical key to connecting with the public. So while Biblical literacy can never been taken for granted, we now face a new challenge: presenting a message of hope to a generation that’s more visually sophisticated than any generation in history.

Source: PhilCooke.com

Pastors certainly ought to spend time preparing themselves to preach on Sunday. Why then, do we give so little time and energy to the preparation and presentation of our timeless message through other mediums? Why is it that we spit out a list of announcements and call it a bulletin and give no thought to how that piece of communication represents the message of our church to every first-time visitor? Why is it that we throw up cruddy, poorly-planned websites that merely repeat the list of announcements we printed on Sunday (if they’re updated at all)? And why is it that we don’t consider how it all needs to mesh together in a comprehensive, ubiquitous fashion in the lives of the people whom we’re trying to reach and disciple?

I’ll never forget preaching in Russia. There was a moment when I tried to say something to the congregation that didn’t translate. My translator and I spent several moments trying to work out the best way to convey my thinking. Meanwhile, the congregation was left in confusion.

We have a perfect, life-changing gospel. We have the message of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world! Let’s refuse to allow bad translation (poorly-planned and poorly-designed communication) to stop us from getting our message across.

Read Phil’s article and tell him just how smart he is!!

Phil Cooke

Our Message Ought to Be Both Timeless and Timely

MediaSalt

MediaSalt (an excellent resource for church communications) just published an article I wrote called “Giving Your Communications Roots and Wings.” It’s a message about how our very timeless message needs to be timely as well. We live in a very real-time culture, which has produced a very real-time web. Can you keep up and keep your feet on the ground at the same time? Head to MediaSalt to read Giving Your Communications Roots and Wings.

Three Big Words to Shape Your Communications Strategy

There are plenty of big words to throw around when it comes to communications, but three have been rattling around in my head all day…

Cohesive

It’s not that all of your messaging has to be the same, it’s that your voice needs to be one voice. Each piece of your approach should interweave and support all of the other pieces. We used to talk more about brand consistency. Now add to that messaging consistency. It’s tough to do this when we think from a new and open media mindset, but it’s not impossible.

Ubiquitous

Somewhere along the way, the church developed a sense of entitlement toward its community. We have the idea that people should drop what they’re doing and tune in. Why? Well because we are the church? How about this novel idea – why don’t we get the message into the warp and woof of the lives people are already living every day? In other words, let’s find ways to communicate everywhere, especially if you want people living the message 24/7.

Recommended Reading: I learned a lot about marketing and communications from Tamar Weinberg’s The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web. (aff)

Agile

So it’s not a big word, but it’s an important one. Be ready to change on a moment’s notice. It’s great to be innovative and cutting edge, but as soon as we think we’ve arrived, we’re toast. Why? Because we begin to believe we have little else to learn. When we’re at the top of our game, we get to tell everyone else how it’s played – until the game changes a little and then we’re yesterdays’ news.

Choose agile platforms and be flexible with your methodologies. If the message matters enough, it’s worth it to stay off of our center of gravity and be ready to shift in a moment’s notice.

photo credit: Muffet