“If you confuse, you’ll lose.”
That’s the motto of Donald Miller’s company, StoryBrand.
In case that was confusing for you, it means any company or business that’s too complicated for customers to understand won’t have many customers at all. When you over complicate, you lose customers and sales.
In other words, clarity is key. Simpler is better.
It’s not always the best product that dominates a market. It’s not always the cheapest service that grows the biggest. No, usually it’s the one that’s easiest to understand. Customers like doing business with organizations that make sense to them. Which makes sense.
That’s where marketing comes in. The quicker you communicate how your business helps the customer solve a problem, the more willing they are to buy from you. And the best way to do that is focusing on what is essential.
Clarity is Important to the Church
This isn’t just true in the business world—it’s true in the church, too.
The church has a product of sorts to market. We still have customers that we need to “sell” to. And we have a message that we have to get this audience to understand. The nuances of a church business may be different, but the principle of clarity still applies.
In his book Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley talks about the importance of giving people one simple thing to remember at the end of every message.
And he preaches what he preaches—most of Stanley’s sermons can be boiled down to a single, memorable sentence. It helps people hang on to something, rather than being overwhelmed.
Is the message your church sharing clear? Or is it confusing?
Clarity is Good
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” —1 Corinthians 14:33
Churches are good at complicating simple things.
We’re bogged down with centuries of theology. Pastors know words like transubstantiation, predetermination, and Leviticus. The complexity of Christianity confuses people, including most Christians. But it doesn’t have to.
Jesus was a simple guy. He dressed simply, spoke plainly, and walked most places He traveled. The message he carried was clear. Likely one of the reasons the Pharisees took issue with Christ was there was no gray area for them to bend the rules in.
Even some of the miracles Christ performed were about removing chaos from the world. Think about the story of Jesus calming the storm. The raging waters represent the challenges of our life. But Jesus was able to negate these troubles instantly.
Jesus wants your church to be clear. That’s how He lived. That’s how His disciples were able to start the Church. And Christ knows it’s the best way for the modern day Church to continue growing.
Confusion is Evil
If Jesus is the bringer of clarity, then Satan is the author of confusion. Where Jesus made things plain, the devil prefers to muck things up. Our world complicated precisely because it’s full of sin.
Jesus came to bring the light, while the devil thrives in the dark. God has a plan, but Satan would rather keep the world in chaos. Clarity and confusion are two sides to a coin. And it’s pretty plain to see which is good, and which is evil.
OK, I’ll admit I’m oversimplifying here. A confusing church isn’t necessarily evil. And the gospel of clarity wasn’t the message Jesus came to champion. Realistically, there is going to be some confusion and complications. This is the world we live in. And that’s OK.
My point is to air on the side of clarity and do our part to make the world less chaotic.
How to Be More Clear
The why of clarity is clear. How to be clear isn’t as straightforward.
Most of us don’t set out to be confusing, it just happens. Clarity takes hard work, clear vision, and a lot of cooperation. So how do we become more clear in our church messaging?
- Focus. The more things you try to do at your church, the harder each one becomes. On the other hand, the more you focus on fewer things, the better each one becomes.
- Create a vision. What do you want your church to accomplish? Many of us have meaningless mission statements. Create one that clearly tells people what your church is about. Then make everything you do an obvious embodiment of that vision.
- Repeat. Leaders are repeaters. Leaders are repeaters. Leaders are repeaters. I’m not sure who first said the phrase, but I’ve heard a lot of people repeat it. Don’t be afraid to reiterate the important things in your church over and over and over.
- Build systems. These are more for your staff and volunteers. But effective internal systems establish clear expectations and take out the guess work in your work.
- Don’t be afraid. Being clear isn’t always as easy as it should be. Some people fear clarity because it means they can’t hide in the ambiguity. Fear not. Be bold. Be different. Be clear.