Don’t Bury the Lead; Preach the Gospel

There is an old adage in journalism that tells writers, “don’t bury the lead.” This refers to placing the most important and attention grabbing elements of a story in the body of an article instead of at the beginning where they belong. As a result, the reader loses interest because no one wants to read through secondary points of information to eventually get to the main point.

I’m learning that this principle should also hold true in our lives and in the ministry of our churches. Far too often we bury the lead in our communication and present people with things that aren’t of utmost importance to either them or us with the result that we waste their time and lose their interest.

In our daily interactions with the people around us, we often spend so much time talking about the weather, the game, or last night’s episode of (fill in the blank) that we never get to what really matters. If all that your coworkers or classmates know about you after weeks, months, or even years of being around you is your ideal outside temperature, you have buried the lead.

In the church, it feels like we often bury the lead when it comes to the most important thing we have to communicate: the gospel. We have the most compelling story available on planet earth. Yet we often hide it beneath a mound of secondary matters that don’t really matter in comparison. Pastors, God’s design for sex is not the most interesting and attention grabbing thing you have to say. God’s plan for parenting is not the most pressing issue of our day. The bold, unashamed, and fresh proclamation of the gospel is. If you are so busy preaching about what people should do that you don’t have time to preach about what Christ has done, you have buried the lead.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that small talk shouldn’t be a part of our conversations. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give people a vision for the full life Christ has come to give us by applying biblical principles.

But I am saying that there should never be a question in people’s minds about what matters most to us-and therefore to them.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
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