In the video that follows, Malcolm Gladwell talks about his 10,000 hour rule. This rule, based on extensive research, is that it takes about 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in a field. To make that number more manageable, it means that you need to work on something 40 hours a week for 250 weeks, or slightly less than 5 years to become really good at it. Take a quick look at the video and then I'll share how this applies to church communicators:
How this applies to church communications
Don't get lost in the details of this idea. I've ordered his book, Outliers, to look at his thesis in more detail and will blog about it more later, but the point is, you don't get good at anything quickly. We know that's true in many areas of life--you don't become a great preacher with your first sermon, a great cook the day you buy a cookbook, a great apologist the first time someone asks why you think the Bible is true.
Why is it then, we expect people in the church who have no advertising, marketing, design, layout, typography or technical training to become instant masters at website design, church bulletin layout, and newsletter writing? From the earliest days of the computer revolution when a church secretary would often come into the church office and find her typewriter replaced by a computer (this really happened more times than I could count). She would then be informed, with great excitement, by whoever did this, that by next week she would get to create the church bulletin and newsletter with it! With the extraordinary tenaciousness innate in church secretaries along with many tears and prayers, she would often get it done. She would go on to learn the computer and the software, usually with no formal training at all and on her own time.
That lack of respect for the person and ignorance of the training needed to do complex communication tasks has continued wherein church secretaries and communications people are told to create a website or various forms social media for the church. It usually happens, but often not easily or well.
The true Biblical Church of Jesus Christ, who lived, died, rose again and is coming back is not doing very well communicating our message (when we look at declining numbers and the public perceptions of the church) when we have the most extraordinary tools available in the history of humanity.
The key is, we haven't taken the time to learn to use them really well. That reality is what motivated me to start the ministry of Effective Church Communications and that's what keeps it going today. Here are some of what I have to help you get the 10,000 needed hours of training.
- There are many resources available at: https://www.effectivechurchcom.com to train church communicators.
- PLEASE check out the site--there is a LOT on it, but there needs to be.
- If you are a church communicator, sign up for the newsletter, check out the site often to learn the continuously added and updated lessons.
- If you are a church leader who is responsible for church communicators, buy them an ECC Membership and GIVE THEM TIME TO USE IT (yes, all caps and shouting to make the point). You must give your people time to learn communications.
- Please also check out my books on church communications--this is an ever-growing resource that will help you learn about the importance of Effective Church Communications and what you need to do in your church to create them. The materials are available in all digital formats and in print. Check out, just click on site title:
- Smashwords--the source for all digital formats, free materials and special editions here. Just scroll down the page to get to the books--I wish they didn't have my bio first, but I had no control over page layout.
- Amazon.com--the source for Kindle and print versions.
10,000 is a lot of time to learn something. We have been entrusted with the Words of Eternal Life--that task is worthy of them.