Don’t Forget to Tell People “How”

Most leadership books today will tell you that the most important thing you can do when launching a campaign or new initiative is make sure you tell people the “why” behind what you’re doing. If you can communicate the “why” behind your latest campaign or initiative, the thinking is that people will feel compelled to participate and join in what you’re doing. 

The strategy behind leading with “why” is not wrong. It’s true that if you can nail down the “why” with your audience, the audience is more likely to buy into what you’re asking the audience to do. However, that’s only part of the equation. 

Many churches can do an excellent job of giving a compelling “why.” Why they’re planting a new church or doing a capital campaign to fund building expansions, this part comes easy for them. Yet, churches often fall short of their ability to explain the “how.” For example, a church may tell its audience why they want to plant a new church in a neighboring city, but can they explain how they will do it?

The problem with explaining the “how” to your audience is that it’s not seen as the exciting part of your church’s communication. It’s seen as “getting into the weeds” or “stuck in the details”; however, if you can’t unpack the “how,” then you could lose a good portion of your audience. 

When you can clearly explain the “how” part of your plan to church, then you demystify what you’re asking your church to do. In addition, describing how something works or how something is going to be accomplished removes fears that your audience may have about what you’re asking them to do.

So how do you become better at communicating to your church the “how” behind what you’re asking them to do? First, ask yourself this question “if someone walked into our church for the first time and heard what we were asking our church to do, would that first-time visitor know how to do it?” Second, get outside voices that are not a part of the planning process to review what you’re asking your church to do, and those outside voices feel like it’s clear what you want people to do and how you want them to do it.

Again, I know that this is not the exciting part of communicating with your church. But if you cannot explain the “how” as well as the “why”, you may need to rethink what you’re asking your church to do. 

Posted on March 18, 2022

Darrel Girardier serves as the Communications Director at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee where he oversees the digital, design and video production teams. Previously, he was a Creative Director at LifeWay Christian Resources.
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