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Author: Mark MacDonald

10 Words and Concepts Churches Overuse in Communications

We’re church communicators. We have an important message to share with our congregations and our community! A picture could be worth a 1000 words, but we also rely on actual words. Words matter. Why? Because more and more, people are reading less and less. That’s why MORE will read if you say LESS. But our communities ignore us, so we have the bad habit of saying twice as much since people are barely half listening. We end up contributing to the noise that drowns out our messages. Let’s stop that. Instead, as a better communication strategy, limit your words...

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3 Ways to Keep People’s Attention

Imagine the person who created the first billboard. It was the mid 1800’s. They saw an opportunity to capture the attention of a group of many who were traveling by regularly. Being the first and only ones to advertise that way probably elicited, “Hey look George, we should buy that!” Then the discussion for the next few miles was all about that one attention-getter. Then it was over. The attention time shortened even more after they travelled by it for the 8th time. Today is so different though. We have unique signs, various messages, and amazing advertisements everywhere. Everyone...

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4 Tricks to Grab the Attention of Busy People

Ask people if they’re busy and you regularly hear, “I’m crazy busy”. From work, play, family, entertainment, sleep, to worship; it’s hard to cram everything into a day. There are many debates over whether we truly are as busy as we think, but the truth is that we’ve convinced ourselves that we are. Everyone has. The problem with this? If everyone feels busy, it’s hard to get them to stop and listen. That can be the issue that kills your ability to communicate effectively. How can you possibly break into someone’s busy schedule? Is it possible? Or should we...

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Beyond Demographics

You’ve been asked to talk to a group at church about love. You prepare a 30-minute presentation that you’re pleased with. You think to yourself, “If I heard this, I’d love it”. Then you find out that the group is a pre-school class. So your talk fails – quite possibly after their 3-minute attention span abruptly ends. The only way to create any appropriate communication (printed, spoken, video, etc.) that will be appreciated is to know as much as possible about the audience. Your presentation to a kindergarten class is very different from time spent talking with adults. It’s...

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The Most Creative Thing I’ve Ever Seen: Mark MacDonald

I’ve been scared of the word “creative.” Studies show that young children exhibit creativity and readily proclaim it, while with maturity, we tend to stop self-assigning the word to what we do. I know why. We don’t know what creativity truly is. And what we don’t understand? It scares us. We don’t know what creativity truly is. And what we don’t understand? It scares us. As a designer and a communicator, people have asked if I’m creative. I’d answer: “I try.” Then along the way, an agency gave me business cards with my title of Creative Director. I apprehensively considered...

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Is Traditional Advertising Dead for Churches?

Thirty-one years ago this adman started working for traditional advertising agencies. Our sketchpad with pencil was our “creative suite” since Apple and Adobe were only fledgling companies. Everything has changed. Each of our clients had developed a product or service and hired us to communicate the benefits to a particular audience that needed them. Nothing has changed. Our agency had a full-time media director who researched the best way to “find” an audience. She knew almost every print publication available and could rattle off subscription rates, audience reach, and content specialty. There were no digital opportunities since there was...

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What Are Your Next Steps?

Recently, our power went out just before bedtime. I groped around the living room to see if I could find a candle. After tripping over our coffee table, I stopped, reached into my pocket, and pulled out my phone. Duh! With the help of the flashlight app, I easily found my bearings and felt incredibly stupid that I’d forgotten the most obvious device for light. A few seasons ago on the show Survivor, they had a large maze competition. The teams were competing to find their way toward tokens in the maze. Each runner was blindfolded, not able to...

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What You Market, You Draw

It’s almost summer, and as the weather warms, I’m drawn to planting things. I grew up in a family who relied heavily on a garden. We usually planted tomatoes, lettuce, peas, beans, onions, rhubarb, and squash. After preparing the soil, we’d hoe in a center groove in order to plant the seeds. Then water, water, water. And wait for whatever we planted to grow. I learned a lot from those gardening experiences that can be passed on to the church. Galatians 6:7 talks about it like this: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows,...

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