Overcoming Resistance

The War of Art, by author Steven Pressfield, begins with the idea that all of us have a barrier between the life we live, and the unlived life within us. 

Creatives, whether artists/writers, entrepreneurs, or ad men (and it’s not a stretch to include pastors here), have deep within them a desire to create, to make, to craft. All are equipped with God-given talents, and putting them to good use honors and glorifies the One who gave them to us. That work makes us feel more alive, more connected to our Maker, more in tune with the universe as He created it.

Pressfield depicts the barrier between that fulfilled life and the life we live every day as a “dark antagonism to creativity,” the anti-Muse, the enemy within. It’s called Resistance.

Resistance takes many forms: fear, self-doubt, busyness, distraction. It’s the sum of all the things that keep us from acting on our desire to create, to make, to craft. It’s a malevolent force of nature, but within us, relentlessly pushing against our capacity to create. It usually wins.

In my experience, there’s a form of Resistance that is particularly troublesome for mission-driven organizations, and especially churches (think staff of five to fifty). In these cases, Resistance often sounds something like this:

I’m not a marketer, I’m a pastor.

I’ll leave the promotional stuff to the experts like you.

I’m too busy working on my ministry to spend time on marketing strategy.

I trust you communications folks to write the copy.

It’s the idea that the work of creatively promoting some church activity or ministry is better left to others supposedly more well-equipped for this work. It’s a form of Resistance that’s especially effective in today’s post-christian culture. People aren’t naturally drawn the unique, increasingly-foreign offerings of churches anymore. Leaders and pastors spend countless hours crafting experiences that help people grow closer to God, but spend precious little time thinking about how they’ll get people to choose to participate in those experiences. As podcaster Rich Birch has said through his blog UnSeminary:

“Many leaders need to think as much about how they market and communicate what is happening at their church as they think about what they’re actually doing. In the same way that artisans wish they could just make their art and not have to find people to purchase it, we can fall into the false notion of believing that our quality experiences are enough on their own.”

Overcoming this type of Resistance is what this blog is all about.

I’ll do my best to empower those self-declared “non-marketers” at churches and mission-driven organizations with the wisdom and tools for communicating effectively about their ministry.

It’s my own way of fighting Resistance, and I hope you find it helpful.

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