Want An Audience To Listen?

Since we live in a marketing-cluttered world, if you speak someone’s name, they will listen.

Mark MacDonald  ·  March 7, 2017

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It sounds strange but many churches don’t talk so people will actually listen.

They produce printed bulletins that few will read, websites that few will browse, and sermons that few will remember.

I realize that’s not you. But do you want to know a better way for the “other” church communicator?

Effective church communications requires identifying an audience(s) that you want to listen. Once you identify personas (groups who share common interests or demographics) in your community and/or congregation, you can create a message that they’ll listen to. Guaranteed.

Good communication rises and falls with audience identification (don’t skip that step). Then it requires these 3 basic rules to get them to listen. And I even add one more foundational rule in the last paragraph (make sure you read it!).

• Speak their name.

When you’re in a busy room and your child calls your name, it seems to cut through the drone of conversation. Since we live in a marketing-cluttered world, if you speak someone’s name, they will listen. It’s impossible to say their actual individual name (except in direct communication like emails or direct mail); so practice saying their persona’s name in your messages. Things like “Mothers of young children? Make sure you attend this important event” or “Men who own a small business? Did you know we have a Bible Study for you?”. They’ll listen. For visual communications (like websites, videos, or ads), be sure to picture what they look like too. People like looking at “themselves” as much as hearing their names.

• Communicate and share common pain.

All personas share pains or concerns. Become experts about them. If those you want to listen have an elderly parent who’s trying to make decisions about long-term care; and you start talking like you’re aware of their pain and have empathy with them, they will listen.

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Mark MacDonald
Is a Bible Teacher, speaker, best-selling author of Be Known For Something, and communication strategist for and the 3000+ churches of the Florida Baptist Convention. He empowers churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, and social media. His book is available at and
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