How do you give your congregations a gift that?s worth sharing with their friends and family? How do you create memorable experiences that make an impact in people?s minds?
Each and every day, thousands create videos, launch websites, plan services, and write sermons. At the heart of every creation is a desire from the Creator to give their audience something memorable. These creative church workers want their audience to be moved and to share what they’ve experienced.
I think we all find ourselves in the same boat. We all want our next video to viral. We’re driven by likes, retweets, and feedback. We crave stories.
But there are times that this drive to create memorable moments can go terribly wrong. What starts with good intentions can quickly end with disaster. My favorite example of this is the youth pastor riding in for his talk on a motorcycle. And that’s where things went wrong…. It was certainly a memorable moment! Just not the kind that he was intending.
There?s a very fine balance between something powerful and funny, and something that is over the top and unnecessary. There’s a fine balance between something that comes off as gimmicky and something that truly moves people.[quote]There’s a fine balance between something that comes off as gimmicky and something that truly moves people.[/quote]
What I’m learning is that creating memorable experiences is all about asking the right questions as you create them, not after you create them.
When you are intentional about asking the right questions as you create something, you’re building an idea based off of strategy instead of hope.
Here are some critical questions to ask as you strive to create memorable and sharable moments.
What’s “Sticky” About Your Idea?
Creativity is messy and complex. If you don’t fight for finding the simplicity in your idea, you won’t be able to communicate the idea with clarity to your audience. As you work through the idea, it’s critical to discover what will stick and connect with your audience. You have to focus your energy and idea around that answer.
My favorite way to figure out what’s sticking is through the Spaghetti Test. It’s based off of the most effective (and fun) way to test if your spaghetti is cooked all the way. When you?re cooking spaghetti and you need to check if the noodles are fully cooked, take a noodle out of the boiling water and throw it against the wall. If it sticks, it?s cooked. If it doesn?t, cook it longer.
I love this concept when it comes to creativity and finding clarity in the chaos of what we?re trying to communicate. Sometimes, you just have to throw all your messages and ideas up against the wall, bring some others in the room, and figure out what?s sticking. What?s the word, phrase, or concept that sticks with your audience? Once you find it, you?ve found your message that you can work around.
Identify the simple and memorable idea you can use to communicate your message. Then, make sure you?re removing any barriers that may be in the way.[quote]Identify the simple and memorable idea you can use to communicate your message.[/quote]
What’s Your Intended Response?
Nothing clarifies an idea like a clear purpose and vision behind the response you want from your audience. Is it to make them laugh? Cry? Be inspired? Share?[quote]Nothing clarifies an idea like a clear purpose and vision behind the response you want from your audience.[/quote]
As we were building our Easter promotion strategy at West Ridge Church, the key word and feeling we wanted our audience to have was anticipation. For our promo video, it was that word that drove every decision on the concept, music, shot selection, and usage of the video. And guess what. It worked!
We started to see people share the promo video online with their friends, relaying their excitement and anticipation for what was to come at Easter. There was nothing too special about the video, other than the focused strategy and intentionality from the beginning that made it work.
Does This Fit Into The Big Picture Of What You’re Trying To Communicate?
Every moment we create should fit into the bigger picture of what we communicate as a church. It’s critical we understand the big picture that we’re trying to create for and support.
This especially comes into play as we create and plan for services. If your awesome, creative song or video doesn’t help point toward the overall objective of the service, it’s going to be a disconnect. Make it a weekly challenge to remove the clutter from all the messages that are being communicated in a service to make sure it all points toward the big picture and story of what you’re intentionally trying to communicate.
Is This Something People Will Connect With And Share?
Our audience is bombarded each day by messages and advertisements. Most of these messages focus on communicating information. Very few of these messages actually connect with the heart of their audience.[quote]People share things they emotionally connect with, or that changes the way they think or view something.[/quote]
People share things they emotionally connect with, or that changes the way they think or view something. They share what they think their family and friends need to see or experience for themselves.
Memorable and sharable moments happen when you connect the heart of your story?with the heart of your audience.[quote]Memorable and sharable moments happen when you connect the heart of your story?with the heart of your audience.[/quote]
Never before has there been more opportunity for an experience to be shared by millions of people through the gift of social sharing. Ask the right questions as you create them, not after you create them. Whatever it is that you’re creating, strive to make it memorable.