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Once in a while a parent will contact me to inquire about our student ministry programs. Most times the question is as simple as:
- What Times Do You Start And End?
- Where Do You Meet?
- Can They Bring A Friend?
However, once in a while there will be a question that is a little confusing. They’ll ask about one specific program, even though they intend to learn more about another. You can tell that they aren’t confident in what they are asking because of a combination of misinformation and previous youth ministry experience. It’s frustrating because you want them to know, you think they should know; yet, they don’t. Why?
- Insider Language – We all love calling our ministries fun names and there isn’t a problem with it as long as you are willing to deal with the consequences. Calling your high school program Uprising, does not communicate high school youth ministry, if anything it communicates an uprising. If you are going to use names and insider lingo, make sure there is an explanation or a list of synonyms so that they can understand what you really mean when you say, “Join Us For Rampage!”
- Assumptions – Just because you are consumed by what you do doesn’t mean people are going to see what you want them to see clearly. If you’ve said it once, that’s not enough. If you’ve never publicized people will never know. Don’t leave anything up to assumption; treat everyone like it’s their first time hearing it.
- Internal Inconsistency – If the team is not on the same page you’ll find your communication watered down. Just like the previous reason you can’t assume your team is always on the same page. Make sure your team knows your vision, mission, strategies and systems just as well as they know your name. If people are using the same language with the similar examples what you communicate will be focused and powerful.
If you feel like what you are communicating is becoming repetitive, good because it means you are on the right track. It’s about knowing what to say and learning how to say it a million times. If people hear it enough times with clear and engaging language they’ll eventually catch on. When they do you’ll find yourself explaining less and sharing more.
What other obstacles stand in the way of us clearly communicating our programs, events, etc?