We must develop new ways to tell the old story
Louellen Essex and Mitchell Kusy have written a book, "Fast Forward Leadership," to help business people evaluate and improve their ability to lead. On page 34, the authors express a truth that today's churches need to hear:
And, as the MTV generation has come on the work scene, many leaders seemingly have neglected the need to develop a more inspirational, passionate, and even entertaining communication style.
Essex and Kusy go on to say that most company mission statements seldom if ever motivate, inspire or excite the people they must lead.
Now, if the business world is taking notice of this communications failure and is being counseled to shift and make adjustments in its presentations, how much more should the church shift and make adjustments?
The ability to communicate is essential if we are to reach our communities, conference, nation and world for Christ. Essex and Kusy call upon their readers to transform their "communication approach." They tell us to "stop doing these things now" - referring to six communication mistakes. I will only lift up one for this column:
Stop informing rather than persuading!
I love this quote from the book: "Leaders have to communicate values and purpose, not just ideas..." People must be encouraged to "internalize the bigger meaning of their work." In other words, we must persuade the people in the pews and ourselves that we are not just here to serve us but to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The church is in the business of persuading people that Jesus is the answer for their lives. Essex and Kusy challenge their readers to "find your passion and speak from the heart." Every now and then, I remind myself that we Methodists are people of the trained mind and the warm heart. Yes, we must speak with knowledge and use our intellect, but we must never forget that this is a heart faith as well.
I recommend this book to you. Though it is not a Christian writing, the book reminds me how important it is for the church to hone its communications skills if we are to tell the old, old story.