What Your Message Ain’t
Is your message donor-edible?
In order to determine “The Message” for your ministry, it’s crucial to understand what “The Message” is not. (If you missed our introductory blog posts on this topic, spend just a few moments to read them here and here.)
It’s easy to confuse the concept of the message with the concept of the mission statement — or even an operational blueprint. “The Message” of the ministry can’t be a multi-page document or super-lengthy blog post detailing everything the ministry does. “The Message” of the ministry also can’t be a paragraph so long and involved and confusing that it can only be interpreted by a veteran staff member.
Certainly an organization can use documents like these internally, as a guide for workers. But your message has to be donor-edible.
- If I can gobble up your message — if I can see it, want it, reach out and grab it, pop it, chew it up and swallow it, all within about 8 seconds of reading time — then I may want to eat some more of what you’re cooking. You’ve offered me a donor-edible message, and I am grateful!
But if I have to study your message — if it makes me furrow my brow, like a 5-year-old contemplating sautéed mushrooms — if I have to ponder it, figure it out, sniff it warily, cut it with a knife and fork, or otherwise process it … well, then, I’m less likely to want more of whatever this stuff was that you offered me.
What is your ministry all about? Compare your answer to a few of these good message statements:
- “Help poor kids in Latin America by getting them in school, giving them meals, clothing them, giving them medical care, and teaching them all about Jesus.”
- “Take people who have given up on church and connect them to the life-changing power of a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ.”
- “Reclaim run-down neighborhoods by offering inner-city people food, job training, and other helps, and then leading them to faith in Christ.”
- “Help public school students learn about God’s ‘Intelligent Design’in science and history instead of just evolution and secularism.”
- “Teach people through TV to live by the practical truths of Scripture.”