Here’s What’s Missing From Your Church’s Communications

Here’s What’s Missing From Your Church’s Communications

August 6, 2018 by

I recently released a book with my friend Jason Young. It’s called The Come Back Effect. And while it’s primarily about creating an environment that will compel guests to return to your church, there’s one pretty major concept I believe applies to church communication.

Recognizing & Responding to Emotions

In the book, we talk about the emotions people are experiencing as they first come to your church. In the parking lot, they’re experiencing stress and confusion. Maybe a bit of apprehension. A parking lot team’s responsibility is not really to help the person park their car. People can park their own cars. The parking lot team’s job is to identify those negative emotions and replace them with positive emotions.

The guest is feeling stress and confusion? The parking lot team helps them feel relaxed and confident. They do this through being relaxed and confident themselves. They anticipate potential things that might contribute to stress and confusion and they remove them from the equation. That’s part of what creates the come back effect.

Just like the come back effect, I believe church communicators have the opportunity to create the action effect for those they communicate with. And it’s through this exact concept: Identifying negative emotions your audience will be feeling and replacing them with positive emotions. Some of those emotions can be attributed to life in general, but some can be directly related to your church.

Here are some things your people are already feeling:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Hectic
  • Distracted
  • Confused
  • Hesitant to connect
  • Afraid of getting hurt
  • Ashamed

Meet People Where They Are

As you work on your church communication, keep this list readily available in your mind. Think about how your emails, social media posts, signage, postcards… How they can replace these negative emotions? Think about how the ministries and things you’re promoting can replace these negative emotions, then make that part of your sales pitch.

Will service help them slow down for the first time in their week? Why not share that. Will attending that men’s ministry event help them learn to have more time in their week? Share that. If not, perhaps you need to restructure the men’s ministry event to accomplish that.

One of the best things we can do as church communicators is have the emotional intelligence to see where our people are and meet them on that level. Our communications should simplify things. They should cause less confusion. Cause less anxiety. Help lower people’s barriers.

Just like with the come back effect, when you can do that, if you can replace people’s negative emotions with positive ones, they’ll remember you. They’ll remember that feeling and connect it with what you’re encouraging them to do.

It’s Hospitality, Not Manipulation

Now, I’m not saying you should emotionally manipulate people. That’s actually the perversion of this idea… it’s lazy. Instead, this is hospitality. It’s about going the extra mile to carry your people’s burdens for them. It’s shouldering those emotions so they don’t have to experience them. It’s a small representation of the huge thing Jesus did for us: He took our sins, our burdens, our sorrows on himself, so we wouldn’t have to experience them.

That’s the opportunity we have as church communicators.

Think through what emotions you want your communication to illicit in those who see them. Then work to root out the negative emotions that would seek to distract from the good ones.

  • Confidence
  • Joy
  • Clarity
  • Boldness
  • A sense of belonging
  • Peace
  • Focus


  • Read our review of The Come Back Effect: How Hospitality Can Compel Your Church’s Guests to Return by Jason Young and Jonathan Malm.
  • Buy a copy of The Come Back Effect: How Hospitality Can Compel Your Church’s Guests to Return by Jason Young and Jonathan Malm.
  • Check out another book by Jonathan Malm that focuses on how your church can welcome guests, Unwelcome: 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors.
Post By:

Jonathan Malm

Jonathan Malm is a creative entrepreneur and writer. He is the author of Created for More (Moody, 2014), a 30-day devotional to help you develop a more creative mind.
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