God blesses the church that puts personal preferences aside for the sake of the Gospel. Those are the words (as best as I can remember them) from Pastor Scott Nichols at Crossroads Community Church in Carol Stream, Illinois. My wife and I were there visiting this past weekend which happened to be the church’s 10-year anniversary weekend. As Pastor Scott reflected on the past, this idea of putting personal preferences aside was one of the things he believes has helped the church successfully grow.
This statement carries a lot of awesome philosophy for us in church communications, but it is also one that can be too easily abused. This line of thinking is good because it helps take us out of the equation and lets us focus on serving people. We should always be designing, writing and creating with the people we’re trying to reach in mind. It’s our job to share God’s truth—through the voice of our church—with people in our community.
In practicality, this means we have an obligation to put aside the petty fights that may come up over communications materials that someone doesn’t like from their personal perspective. Someone doesn’t like the way a banner looks. Or they’re unhappy with the design of their section of the website. You know these disagreements, don’t you? There’s a difference in saying a design or strategy doesn’t fit the brand of the church versus just saying it doesn’t fit a personal aesthetic.
Where this statement gets problematic is when it would be used as a way to say we’re throwing out all of our standards with the excuse of saying it’s for the sake of sharing the Gospel. Whatever means are necessary, we’ll do it—even if it’s not within the vision or goals of our church. This is how random, non-effective ministries get started or how unnecessary brochures get created. God doesn’t want us to act recklessly with the resources He’s given us. Churches who try to do everything don’t usually end up doing a lot of things well. The one’s that focus in on the few things they can do well usually find their work is more fruitful.
Putting personal preference aside for the sake of the Gospel makes us compromise. It forces us to work together. It focuses us on our churches unique ability to share the Gospel given our specialized set of talents. Most importantly it puts God first, which should always be the case in anything we do at a church—even if it’s communications and marketing.