Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, and memorable experiences
As a church leader, you have a high level of responsibility for how you handle information. We often spend a lot of time debating whether what we say is right or wrong, but in the process we neglect to think about how we are going to say what really matters. If you are a writer, communicator, teacher, or leader, you have an audience to potentially influence. If you can craft something that isn’t true and make it believable, you can craft something that is true and make it applicable.
Up until the sixteenth century, carrots were grown in a variety of hues: red, black, yellow, purple, and even white. There were no orange carrots until the seventeenth century when some Dutch growers began feeling patriotic. In honor of their king, William of Orange, they married some yellow and red carrots to produce our modern-day orange carrots.
There must have been some orange-carrot skeptics in the beginning. They were probably overheard saying things like, “These can’t be true carrots,” or “Carrots aren’t supposed to look like that,” or “Those are not the kind of carrots my parents ate.” Nevertheless, the color of carrots changed forever. But here’s an important point: Changing the color of carrots did not alter the fundamental nature of the carrot. In other words, orange carrots were just as nutritious as black carrots. The only real difference between the two was that more people were willing to eat orange carrots than black ones.
If you knew more kids and students would engage in what you teach if you packaged it differently, would you? Would you color it orange if more kids would listen? Before you start using phrases like “watering down the truth” or “not deep enough,” just remember you can change the color of something without compromising its nature. It doesn’t mean you weaken your message just because you focus on what your audience needs.
If you want more people to eat carrots, then change the color. If you want more students to listen to what is true, change how you present it.
It’s all about refining the message
To me this principle doesn’t just apply to the way a presentation is spoken from a stage or even in a small group. This applies to the signs, the wall color, the t-shirts, the music, the graphics, the carpet color, and everything else the family encounters in your ministry. For you see, I could say I truly believe this principle and buy the curriculum from The ReThink Group, and that would be a huge step, but it wouldn’t finish the process. Notice for the carrot to actually become orange it had to change its total presentation. The top of the carrot didn’t stay red and the bottom yellow in an attempt to keep those that like the traditional ways happy. To many people simply pick up the latest greatest curriculum and change nothing else. Then 6 months later they say that the curriculum didn’t work and switch to whatever else. I encourage you to not only look at the message but the entire environment in which the message is being presented.