Less Cluttler, Less Noise: 9) Tell One Story at a Time

one storyConfusing the story of the church is something that our adversary strongly desires. We see his efforts in full force within culture all around us. The entertainment world sends our children mixed messages, making it more challenging for us as we parent them through the next phase of their life. Distraction takes any dream or effort, whether attempted by a team or an individual, and pushes them back a few steps.

I believe one of the biggest challenges when Christ followers attempt to live a life in community (small groups, worship or serving others together), the effectiveness of a ministry has to be the focus. Starting first by making sure our hearts and minds are on the same page. Kem did a great job in this chapter of defining how we can overcome things that move us off of the straight path that God has for us. By slowing down and taking some time to ponder before pushing forward too quickly, the story we are telling will most likely sound more clear.

That’s why she suggests that we make it a priority to shorten our story and mission as much as possible. When Kem looks at the church, she desires for its story to be filled with less spin and more framing. For the church’s story to be filled with less selfish manipulation for personal gain (spin) and unselfishly stepping out of the picture to see it as a whole for the benefit of others (framing). If you enjoy photography like I do, that word picture should resonate like crazy!

Here are a few tips that Kem shares, regarding telling one story at a time:

  1. Shorten your welcome announcements to two items.
  2. Adjust your website so that it lets the visitor know if it is a fit for them, and if so, what is their next step.
  3. Communicate what is more important than all of the rest in what you are doing in one sentence.
  4. It’s hard to recover from a negative impression because, many times, people are gone before you even know you’ve messed up.

Is your story confusing to those that first hear it? Is your objective as a body easily understood?

8 ) Reduce the Noise <– Less Clutter, Less Noise –> 10) Untangle The Web

Gabe Taviano is the proud husband to author and speaker Marla Taviano and father to their three daughters, Olivia, Ava and Nina. God is guiding Him as he is developing the Digital Disciples network, which consist of free monthly meetups for Christians who are tech / creative minded, and listing one of those individuals each day online. He serves as Director of Digital Presence at a Christian radio station, 104.9 the River in Columbus, Ohio.

10 Responses to “Less Cluttler, Less Noise: 9) Tell One Story at a Time”

  1. No comments yet? I'm surprised. This chapter was challenging but helpful for my Christian non-profit and reference to the church. However, it spins things a complete different way than many are used to looking at church. I try to avoid negatives but this is the first chapter that seemed to have a under the radar personal pick driving it. The language was a bit uncomfortable and sometime I had to step back from the emotive words and response elicited and then grab the grain of truth/help being offered. Still, I am very glad for this chapter.

    Thanks Gabe for you summary and comments. I too found the framing issue engaging and helpful.

    • It's definitely a chapter you have to read through at least 2-3 times. It's a very important subject, and sometimes I think people just skim over it – thinking their message cannot be confusing. Confusing a simple message isn't hard to do, and people don't think the way they communicate something could ever be confusing, LOL.

  2. communicating the 'next step' was my takeaway from that – i use to think people could just synthesize information and preferred doing whatever they want with it, but because of the deluge of info these days most people actually long for some guidance

    • PaulSteinbrueck Feb 1, 2011 at 10:41 am

      Ion, I think communicating the next step is huge. I see frequent examples where people announce an opportunity and then forget to tell people specifically how they can participate.

      As Kem wrote, every communication should answer the two most important questions:

      1) is this for me, and
      2) if so, what's my next step.

      And the next step should be as simple as possible. Don't tell people to "see John Smith after the service," because new people don't know John Smith. Don't ask people to fill out a form on a web page 3 screens long just to get more information about small groups.

      • This kind of stuff should beg of the church to allow mentors to rise up and lead people where they need help being led. I think the church tends to place the emphasis too much on the pastor at times, when there's no possible way he alone can help communicating with / guiding a person to their next step. A great place for small groups or mentors to come into play I think, helping clear the confusion and direction.

      • Great points Paul – love the 1-2-punch.

        I'm about to conduct a focus group for a client. One of the topline questions that will be instructive is to see who they think each page is for (your #1 above) what they think the net takeaway message is for every given page (#2 above).

        If you think about it, how well you execute on #2 is really moot if you don't get #1 correct. I find that forcing our teams to reduce all noise in the messaging really helps to accomplish #1 well.

        But you can't get buy-in for this, unless you show 'em the facts. IHaving impartial 3rd parties give their own (unguided) feedback to what their perception is for #1 and #2 on any given marketing collateral piece (online or offline) really convinces people of the urgency to drive at the areas where there is room for improvement.

  3. Good blog post. Appreciate it. I highly recommend you keep blogging.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Less Cluttler, Less Noise: 9) Tell One Story at a Time | Christian Web Trends Blog -- Topsy.com - Jan 31, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by OurChurch (dot) Com, E_DramendraPasaribu™. E_DramendraPasaribu™ said: RT @OurChurchDotCom: New! Less Cluttler, Less Noise: 9) Tell One Story at a Time by @GabeTavianohttp://t.co/3khha0T [...]

  2. Less Clutter, Less Noise: 10) Untangle The Web | Christian Web Trends Blog - Feb 2, 2011

    [...] 9) Tell One Story at a Time <– Less Clutter, Less Noise Adam works at LCBC Church in Lancaster, PA. He loves to spend all kinds of time online reading and learning new things. He also loves spending time with his wife and family. Check him out on Twitter or his Blog. church, communications church, Communications, Less Clutter, Less Noise, web design 3 Ways to Make Your Website Simple [...]

  3. Less Clutter, Less Noise: Kicking Off the Group Blog Project | Christian Web Trends Blog - Feb 2, 2011

    [...] 9 [...]