By Tiffany Vail
Associate for Communication
At a recent Super Saturday workshop Joe Lima, a member of the Conference's Commission on Communication, shared the video accompanying this blog. In the video, Simon Sinek - author of "Start With Why" - makes the argument that in the marketing world, people respond most not to questions of What, or How, but Why.
"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it," Sinek says. "What you do simply serves as the proof of what you believe."
Even though, as church folk, we tend not to like to think in terms of marketing, this is a very important message for us to hear. As Joe pointed out at the workshop, churches tend to be very good at talking about what they do. They aren't nearly as effective at explaining why. The result is marketing - or communication - that does not reach people at the gut level.
So... why does your church do what it does? Do you feed the hungry because it's a nice thing to do? Or because Jesus called on you to do that? Does your church openly embrace gays and lesbians because you need more members? Or because Jesus invited everyone to the table, and you can do no less?
Your church can't effectively communicate your message if you don't know why you do what you do, and if you cannot express that.
So take a look at this video and then do some soul searching in your church. Find ways to express why you do what you do, and see what kind of response you get.
Tiffany Vail is the Associate Conference Minister for Communications for the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ.