Twice last week I posted on the influence of Chip and Dan Heath’s Made To Stick on how we do ministry and communication at Good Shepherd. You can read about it here and here. Those posts talked about how effective communication is both simple and unexpected.
And it is also concrete. Which means that good communication — whether radio commercial, print ad, or Sunday sermon — is full of vivid, tangible images.
This is why Good Shepherd no longer has lengthy statements describing its mission, vision, values, and strategy. Much of that ended up being mere words divorced from meaning. Now we have narrowed what we are about down to two words: Walking Together. Walking: it’s concrete, visual, biblical, and something everyone does. Together: it creates a picture in your mind of sharing a stroll with your spouse or even of Dorothy and her friends on the Yellow Brick Road.
Some other examples of concrete communication at Good Shepherd:
- Sunday’s message with a story about a preacher, an uncooperative lawn mower, and potential pastoral profanity. Vivid! And very common.
- Our mission trip promotional video with image after image of people serving in Kenya, Russia, Bulgaria, and Missouri. No more “here’s what happened on our mission trip” followed by a report full of inside jokes. Just rapid fire visuals that make you want to join the team next year.
- Our next series is on “holiness.” Now that’s a hard subject to explain in conrete language — it would be quite easy to describe it in ways that are both philosophical and ambiguous. So we’ve titled it Oddball — and gave out 1500 free red “Oddballs” in church Sunday.
So whether you are speaking to your family, talking to your boss at work, or even getting a sermon ready, make sure your language is concrete — visible, tangible, image-filled.
Then what you are saying will stick.