December 31st, 2011

Taking Vision Public in 2012: Six Steps to Vision-Soaked Church Communication

How do you effectively invite people to take an active part in your vision? This is a constant challenge for leaders of every organization I work with. The answer? Vision-soaked communication. Get clear about your vision, develop a palette of tools to communicate it, and then let it soak into and through every way you communicate.

This is what the best organizations in the world do so well. Apple. Starbucks. Target. Every piece of communication or interaction you have with these organizations is absolutely soaked in their vision, mission, and values. Just when you read the names of those organizations, colors and feelings were evoked inside of you, weren’t they? That’s the power of vision-soaked communication.

And, just in case you’re tempted to go here, thisĀ  approach to vision-soaked communication is not just about “secular marketing strategy.” These same principles fueled the way Jesus and his first followers used as they announced and demonstrated the Good News. “The kingdom of God is here!” they announced. And then they used all sorts of imagery and compelling language to tell more about what they meant…and they invited people to live in this new reality.

And although the communication tools at our disposal today look very different than they did 2000 years ago in the towns and villages of Israel, the ideas and the approach are still the same. How do we invite people into a vision that could change the world? I believe it’s a part of our calling as church leaders to wrestle with this question and find creative methods to share the message God has given us in the most compelling, grab-you-by-the-heart-strings, kick-you-in-the-gut ways possible. That’s why communication matters so much in the church.

Through a series of posts, we’ll look at six steps to vision-soaked communication. Here’s an overview.

Step 1: Fill the Pool – Articulating Your Vision

Step 2: Boil it Down – Developing Your Tagline

Step 3: Describe the Water – Crafting Your Key Messages

Step 4: Tap into the Thirst – Communicating the Big Why

Step 5: Break out the Hose – Leveraging Every Medium

Step 6: Drip, Drip, Drip – Talking Vision Daily

As we walk through these steps together, we’ll look at a specific example of an organization we recently worked with: Vanguard University. Although this series of posts will speak specifically about church communication, there are many parallels and, hopefully, a non-church example will help you to focus on the approach I’m presenting and not the specific language in each step. (Vanguard is a Christian university in southern California with a great vision for training and equipping Christian leaders.)

I truly believe that if you can learn to leverage the power of these six steps, your communication will be soaked with vision and your church will gain more momentum toward achieving that vision.

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