Chris Forbes as a great article on the danger of speaking Christianease – you can read it here. Here’s a few of the highlights:
(Start Quote) Have you ever read copy in church advertisements like the lines below?
- “Join us this Sunday for anointed Holy Ghost preaching, dynamic praise and worship and intimate fellowship in the body”
- “At our church you will hear sound expository preaching on the doctrines of Grace”
- “We exalt the Savior, equip the saints, and edify the servants!”
- “Our church is a corporate outlet for truth-filled praise and worship!”
I can’t tell you how many church signs, brochures, worship bulletins, and websites I have seen that have sentences like those above. Much marketing coming out of churches today uses terms the general populace doesn’t understand.
We may know what words like, “exalt”, “equip”, and “anointed” mean, but what do these things mean to the people who have never or rarely been inside the walls of a church? (Personally, I am working on what “magnify” really means…it’s not about magnets, right?) For example, for many people the word “gospel” is not about the message of Jesus Christ, it’s a genre of music. You can’t help people understand the real meaning of the gospel, until you understand the people you want to reach.
5 Steps to Cleaning Up Your Church Marketing Language:
1. Start with your audience in mind: Instead of just brainstorming in your office how you want to creatively word your message, write copy with specific people in mind. If you define your audience more clearly and have a mental image of the people to whom you are speaking, the best vocabulary will emerge in your mind from understanding them.
2. Purge your copy of words that need to be explained: Be careful to use only terms that have a clear meaning to your target audience. Try using a thesaurus to find other ways of saying what you want to say.
3. Make your meaning plain: When you have to use a specialized term, define the meaning of the word in your copy.
4. Test your copy: Show your materials and concepts to people in your target audience to get their candid impressions and reactions to your writing. It’s not as hard as it sounds, just ask, most people would love to help. Say, “I am working on a writing project and I need another set of eyes, would you mind looking at what I have written and telling me if I am coming through clearly?”
5. Make a commitment to keeping church-speak out of your marketing materials: Help ministry leaders understand the value of clear communication and revisit church documents like mission statements, descriptions of ministries, expressions used from the platform, etc.
Read the full article here and then go through your website, church signs, bulletins or promotional materials and remove all Christianese. Now!
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