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I’m going to start off by saying, “This is probably not the best post you’ll ever read…it’s at least in the top five“ In all seriousness, how many times have you made a promise that you weren’t quite sure was true? It’s a risk advertising and marketing professionals take, they promise the best, newest, strongest, sexiest, cleanest, roundest product ever. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes it’s a flop.
In my first year of ministry, Halloween fell on a Sunday. This proved to be a problem for our middle school program because we were competing with the fact most teens sill dressed up and went trick or treat. But, I wasn’t afraid of the challenge and decided to plan the “BEST HALLOWEEN MINISTRY NIGHT EVER!” Only one kid came. He had a great time; however, the whole time I felt like I had under delivered on a promise I would never fulfill.
Chances are you’ve promised:
- AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE
- A LIFE CHANGING NIGHT
- A MIND BLOWING EVENING
Knowing in the back of your mind that it wasn’t a guarantee. It’s a move out of desperation to grow numbers quickly, to generate excitement or to get everyone on board. Don’t get me wrong, we need to generate excitement around what we do; however, when it comes to expectations we go a little overboard. If you are going to invite teens to anything you need to make sure there is authenticity and sincerity. The awesome thing about teenagers is that they can see right though you; therefore make sure every invitation you deliver is full of authenticity and sincerity. And you do that by:
- Being Clear With The Facts – We’ve all seen the flyers that read, “Games, Fun and More!!!!”, but I’m willing to bet, that not even the planners know the MORE. We throw in the more to make it sound like a mystery; however, all it says is, “I have no clue what else we will do…but we’ll find that out together.” Be clear with expectations so that you can build up trust.
- Use Testimony – Nothing is mor authentic and inspiring than someone’s true story. If you believe that the program or ministry creates life change then find the testimonies that drive it home. People might not connect with you; but, chances are that they will connect with someone. A testimony is not just another voice, but it’s a chance to paint a broader picture.
- Make It Personal – You can make a mass invitation personal without having to call each individual household. All it involves is a little vulnerability on your part.. Give people the opportunity to ask questions. Don’t assume people will ask, just let them know you are available and if they have any concerns, doubts or fears, you’ll do your best to address them. By allowing them to question, you let them know that you care about their experience.
- Know Your Limits – In your heart you might want to go above and beyond. Some of it might be initiated by pride; however, part of you really wants people to have a great time. If you over extend yourself by refusing to delegate or embrace your limits, you’ll meet a lot of frustration. Don’t promise something you can’t fulfill, know your limits and work within them.
Okay, I’m sorry if I over promised; but, in all seriousness there will be times when we need to elaborate to build hype. The trick is not to go overboard. If the audience knows what they can expect and what you expect of them, you can make sure their experience is unlike any other.
How are you authentic or personal in your invitation to others?