There are some people we often overlook in the church. Jeff Henderson spent years as the sports marketing director for Chik-fil-A before becoming a lead pastor. During that time, he and his wife led a small group Bible study. It was there where he met a lady who had never heard that God loved her before. That shocked him so much that he began to have an extremely strong desire to tell people that message every day of his life.
We need to say yes to those who have said no to…
- What you and I believe.
- The church.
Many people will say something like, “I’m up for saying yes to them, but what about me?” In response, Jeff says, “You will never experience what the church can do for you until you have experienced what the church can do through you.”
Jeff gains some insight from Paul’s story in Athens (Acts 17):
We need to start by saying yes by talking less… and listening more. Listening is so important, because it builds trust. Maybe it involves going on a “listening tour” to hear from the people who have said no. In a recent survey, a group of 18-24 year olds who have said no stated they would be most interested in church for community. But, Jeff says, “Sometimes the ministry can get in the way of the ministering.” So, we might need to stop talking so much and listen more.
We also need to start saying yes in a unifying, common language. Paul drew from what the people knew. Quite often, though, those who grew up in the church have a disconnect with people who did not grow up in the church. In marketing, Jeff says, this is known as you “brand-promise.” What are you promising to your community in a way they can understand? He goes on to say the reason most people say no to the church is because they don’t understand it.
He then shared how to come up with a brand-promise:
- What do we want to be known for?
- How can we say yes to those who have said no?
- Is there a phrase or language that can communicate consistently?
Jeff closed, saying, “It’s a powerful moment when people who have said no to the church realize that the church has said yes to them.” There is a world who has turned away from the church. They have said no to it, but are we going to say no to them?
What is your church doing to say yes to those who have said no to the church? Please share in the comments!
You can connect with Jeff on Twitter at @jeffhenderson.
Read the full results of the survey here: