I’ve never been very good at catching subtle hints, but I was pretty good at laying them out there. For years, I worked with churches and tried to lead with gentle-ish suggestions, but little changed. It was in Loganville, Georgia where I intentionally made a change.

I was the pastor of a historic church on Highway 78. Some of you may know that highway better as the Atlanta Highway of The B-52’s Love Shack fame. Thousands of cars passed our church everyday, but nobody noticed us. I wanted to change that, so I made a proposal to my board. “I want us to offer free coffee and a blessing to anyone who will stop by the church on Monday mornings,” I proposed. “All I’m asking you is to pay for the coffee and give me permission to do it. I believe it will raise awareness about us.”

A discussion ensued that seemed to drag on, though it probably lasted less than five minutes. It wasn’t the money factor – that church never used that excuse to not do ministry – but there was a “Why would we do this?” issue. Finally, I broke in and just laid it all on the line. I told them that we might not get any new members from it directly, but that we could leverage the Monday mornings to get well-known in the community … and that if we didn’t do this, or something like it, we were pretty much destined to remain an anonymous little church with no future. That got their attention and they approved my proposal unanimously.

Coffee and a Blessing

Three months later, using some media secrets I know, I managed to make the front page of the local paper, a full color spread in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and a featured spot on ABC’s Good Morning America. From that point on, I’ve made it my practice to be more direct with church recommendations. The work of the kingdom, in my opinion, is just too important to leave to subtleties and hints. Over the last fifteen years, I’ve applied that value to my work as a coach and a consultant with the Effective Church Group and have been able to help church leaders effectively grow their churches because of it.

Question: Share a time when being direct was helpful to getting things done in the church. Leave you response in the Comments section below.