When I was an announcer on 96five my Program Director Malcolm Pollard used to drum into me all the time Research is King. What is your audience doing when listening to your show; what did they watch on TV last night; what did they do on the weekend; what sports do their kids play?
It was vital to me as an announcer to be able to connect with my audience. If I didn’t they would turn off. I didn’t need to live their life but I did need to have an understanding of what they did and why. Radio has taught me the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes and be able to ‘connect’ with them in their life.
I believe the same statement Research is King is important for ministers. Ministers need to know what their congregation is doing, watching, reading,. You might like reading the Financial Review or Weekend Australian but the majority of your ‘audience’ is probably reading the free weekly newspaper. You might watch 4 Corners but your ‘audience’ is watching Master Chef.
I am not saying that you need to live their lifestyle or lose your interests but you need to communicate in their lifestyle not yours.
As a coach of a sporting team I have learnt that to get the best out of my kids I need to understand how they think and why they react or respond to my directions. I don’t dress like them or act like them but I know their culture and connect with them on their communication style not mine as an adult.
We know as Christians and especially in church we speak a different language. We know what redemption means to us as Christians, talk to an unchurched person and redemption means getting even for a past wrong.
This week take some time out and hang around a shopping centre, sports field or even read the weekly free newspaper and get a true snapshot of your unchurched audience and see what are the issues in the lives of the ‘lost’.