“Why don’t our people know?” is often asked in churches that don’t disciple well with controlled messages.
Every church member needs to hear controlled messages that are repeated so they understand and remember them. Often when messages are left uncontrolled, church members don’t know critical things that every pastor wishes they did.
Here are seven controlled messages your congregation needs to hear every week:
1. The church thread. What do you want your church to be known for? Is it a benefit worthy of attendance or bringing in guests from your community? Make it simple, easy-to-remember, easy-to-use and beneficial. Then repeat it enough that your members can say it out loud. If your message is left uncontrolled, you’ll be known for many things — therefore, nothing will stand out.
2. The welcome message. Are you glad people attended church? Then have a genuine greeting that makes them understand it wouldn’t be the same without them. And use your welcome to get them to anticipate the rest of the service (more than “This is going to be great.”). The welcome is a good time to foreshadow an invitation (call to action) later in the service too.
3. Benefits of in-person worship. Throughout the pandemic, we emphasized how easy it is to view a service online. So people did. It’s now time to give them reasons why the in-person worship service is beneficial — not to shame the ones watching online, but to control the reasons you think in-person worship is different/better than online attendance. It also reminds those attending in-person that it was good for them to be there. Make sure your in-person worship delivers what you promise though.
4. The role of church leadership. Sure, you understand the pastor’s role, but members may not. Regularly let them know what you do. If this message is left uncontrolled, they may think you only work on Sundays with a bit of preparation time for the sermon sometime throughout the week.
5. The role of each member. If you have expectations for people who attend your church, tell them regularly. If you don’t, they’ll show up for a service occasionally and tell everyone they’re regular members. And many need to understand what an offering is!
6. Why you receive an offering. Why are tithes and offerings important to you? Does your congregation know? For most churches, you’d never know it was an act of worship because it’s not emphasized like other worship elements. Tell them regularly.
7. A call to action. We live in a world overwhelmed with communication noise. Because of that, most people quickly browse over messages. The ones they remember are the ones leading to a very obvious call to action they need. Don’t let your church service become part of the ignorable noise in their life. Instead, use controlled messages to lead them to a decision. Don’t assume they’ll figure it out.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, & social media. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.