It’s quite hard to be excited about January.
But, on the upside, I’ve started preparing my workshop for the UCCN weekend. I’m doing the Friday night session, which is all about audience.
I’m really passionate about audience. It’s something that I think needs to pervade our thinking whenever we communicate. Because communicating is not about us. We already know what it is we want to say. It’s about whoever we’re communicating with – our audience.
That’s true whether we’re communicating through letter to editors, posters, bumper stickers, sermons or our welcome at the door.
I think our potential audience is more varied than we realise. I think it’s broader than our current membership. And that means that we need to not assume that our potential audience thinks exactly like us, or has the same religious background as us.
We say that we want to grow. And we will grow if we fulfil a need for people. And they know that we fulfil their needs.
I think that means that we need to understand our audience – the people that we’re talking to – and meet them where they are. After all, they don’t know us yet why should they make an effort if we’re not willing to.
We need to tell people what we can offer them. I think this needs optimistic honesty. Of course we need to be truthful. If say we offer something (like great worship) we need to be able to deliver it.
But we shouldn’t undersell ourselves. We are a very human institution; we have our flaws. And we are loveable anyway. We really do have the things that people are looking for. We just need to let them know.