Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath is a new book on marketing that has helped me think through some of the things we do as a church. The book explores the question of why some ideas survive – they “stick” in our minds – and others die.
The authors suggest six common characteristics of ideas and concepts that are memorable and connect with people. Using the acronym “SUCCESs”, they describe how ideas that stick are Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional and are communicated by Stories.
The good news we have to share about Jesus transformed our world in just a few centuries because it had these qualities. It was a message that bridged languages and cultures and “stuck” in peoples minds and hearts.
We have the same good news to share today, but it doesn’t seem to stick very well. Why is that?
Chip and Dan Heath’s list of sticky qualities caused me to ask myself some questions about what I am doing as pastor and what we are doing as a church. They are good and important questions and I’d like to share them with you:
Simple – Have we complicated the core message of Jesus (“Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”)? Do our ways of doing church get in the way of knowing and sharing Jesus?
Unexpected – Have we made Jesus so predictable that nobody really hears what we have to say about him?
Concrete – Do we spend too much time in abstract theories and not enough in down-to-earth ministry?
Credible – Are people able to see Jesus at work in our lives and the lives around us?
Emotional – Are people able to feel Jesus at work in our lives and the lives around us? Are we communicating passion in our quiet Quaker way?
Stories – Are we getting good at telling the story of God from the Bible and from our lives?
The good news of Jesus is the ultimate “sticky idea.” Let’s share it.