One Big Communication Thought that Keeps Your Mission In Focus

Most churches communicate as though getting people to attend events is the primary goal. And when they do, they create all sorts of problems … and even end up, at times, working against the purpose of the mission they are trying to serve.

In our culture, most organizations have what I would call a lower purpose and a higher purpose. In the for-profit world, the lower purpose is always making money. The higher purpose has to do with the “why” behind the “what.” (For more on that, check out Simon Sinek’s TED talk on the topic.)

The same is true for churches, but most of them don’t realize it. For churches, the lower purpose has to do with attendance and giving. If we get people to attend our events … and if they give enough to keep the budget going, then we’re fine.

But that’s not the church’s higher purpose.

Every church is trying to serve the higher purpose of sharing the message and life of Jesus … and inviting people to experience that life. They all have unique ways that they express the life of Jesus, but at their core, the higher purpose is the same.

The problem is that most churches … and church communications … are designed around the lower purpose.

When that happens, ministries elbow each other out of the way for time on stage. The weekly bulletin has to contain every item that will take place at the church. Even more importantly, each event or program is measured as a success purely by attendance.

What happens when the higher purpose shapes the church … and church communications?

Implementing The Higher Purpose Strategy To Communication

Any announcements in the service are framed as next steps of engagement with the mission of the church. The bulletin contains a few prioritized next steps, not a menu of options. Ministry leaders are not simply concerned about getting people TO a program … they want to get people THROUGH an program.

What are inviting people to move into when they show up? And how are we making that easy for them?

If you’re answering these questions about each event or program at your church, your church (and your communications!) will remain stuck in the lower purpose.

When that happens, you won’t gain significant ground toward your mission to invite people deeper into life with Jesus, you will simply gather a crowd. You don’t want to settle for that, do you?

You’ve probably noticed something. This isn’t just about church communications. This is about every ministry leader and every ministry environment.

Your overall strategy as a church should be to move people THROUGH your different ministry environments to deeper levels of engagement with your mission. When that happens, communication becomes easy—all it has to do is clearly match the strategy and it will be exponentially more effective.

Don’t settle for the lower purpose of attendance. Strive for the higher purpose of mission engagement. That’s when lives and communities are truly changed.

> Read more from Steve.


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Steve Finkill

Steve Finkill

Steve Finkill is the Chief Messaging Officer at ID Digital, a verbal, visual, and marketing company. Dream Vacation: Driving the Pacific Coast Highway with my wife. Stopping for great food and some golf along the way. Ice Cream Flavor: Vanilla with real peanut butter mixed in. Favorite Films The Shawshank Redemption, The Empire Strikes Back, and Tombstone. Surprising Personal Fact: I was the Table Tennis Champion of my middle school. Favorite Album: The Firm Soundtrack, Dave Grusin. Coffee: Never. Beverages are meant to be cold.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

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