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A process to help identify what is easy to talk about in your congregation?
The things that are easy to discuss in your congregation will end up being your lasting impact.
How do your results make you feel about your congregation's strength?
In his book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Neil Postman argues that television and the electronic media have robbed Americans of their ability to express complicated thoughts. While certainly not the only writer to take this position, Postman digs deeper into history for an explanation. Building on an idea claimed from the writing of the Greek philosopher Plato, Postman says the culture of a particular community's or civilization's determines what is easy to express and what is difficult. Television, then, has become the dominant culture-driver in our society. Postman further builds on this point, adding that the ideas that are easy to express are the ideas that determine a culture's lasting impact.
Pretty heady stuff when viewed on a global, historical stage, but what might this idea mean in a 21st century congregation?
Think about what is easy to talk about in your congregation. (You might want to list these concepts on individual post-it notes.)
After you have a list of these, see if any patterns emerge.
What might be contributing to the ease with which these topics are discussed?
Those contributing factors are indicators of the culture of your congregation.
Now repeat the process with topics that would be difficult to discuss in your congregation. (You might want to use the post-it notes again.)
What might be contributing to this difficulty?
These factors are also building blocks of your congregational culture.
If Postman's assertion is correct, the things that are easy to discuss in your congregation will end up being your lasting impact. How do your results make you feel about your congregation's strength?
What would the culture of your congregation look like if you made a list of the things that you valued in your ideal culture, and then structured what was easy to talk about around that list?
How do you think visitors would respond to your congregation if this was your culture?
What stewardship topics are easy to talk about in your congregation?
What does this say about your congregation's stewardship culture?
What topics are not easy to talk about?
Stewardship Resources Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631. Any part of Salt Seasonings can be reproduced for local use with attribution.
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Adam Copeland serves as director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders.
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