Don’t Tell the Truth, Realize It

August 10, 2004 by

“Truth we are told is truth we may not accept; the truth we have realized is the only truth we own.” – Roy H. Williams

In his book The Wizard of Ads, ad man Roy H. Williams writes about truth in advertising in a one-page chapter titled “When the Truth Is Not Persuasive.” His profound simplicity on the subject is worth a second look as it applies to the context of how a church can promote itself and the Truth it represents.

“Deceitful advertising is common today because the honest business people of yesterday assumed all they had to do was ‘tell the truth’ about their superior products.” In other words, Williams is saying that because the response from honest people promoting honest products didn’t always return a great result, deceitful advertising made its way on to the scene because honest advertising must not work (or so the logic went).

“If the public won’t buy it for $20, we’ll mark it $40 and sell if for half price!” was a common method of not-so-honest advertising. Advertisers knew they couldn’t fool everyone all the time, but they could fool enough people enough of the time to return enough of a result. Williams says:

“The real tragedy is that so many honest business people abandoned the truth in their advertising. You see, it wasn’t the truth that was ineffective. The mistake was in assuming it was enough to simply tell it. If you want the truth to prevail, you must cause people to realize the truth.”

Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. What do we have for him Johnny…

What would happen if you quit being a church that stops at just telling the truth? Yes, Jesus loves you, but that doesn’t mean squat to someone who hasn’t realized or comprehended it. Don’t be the church that cares unless someone has experienced or realized the care you offer.

Honest persuasion in communicating Truth can happen when we go beyond just saying it and into the realm of having it realized.

Now if only this part didn’t require so much more work…

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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