Communicating with 3 Types in the Pews

Posted February 17, 2014
By Kevin Spear

Photo of congregants worshipping

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

Let’s face it. As much as we’d like to use a “one-size fits all” method of communication within the church body, it just doesn’t work. When we refer to our “congregation” as a unified whole, it is easy to forget that the body is made up of many very different parts.

The challenge of a pastor or communications director is translating a message from the church to the congregation in a way that spurs people to action. Given the range of people that make up a church body, this is much easier said than done! One useful way to categorize different groups in your congregation is by the way they best absorb information. There are three basic types: See-ers, Hearers, and Doers. By acknowledging the types sitting in the pews, ready to see, hear, or do, churches can fine-tune their communication to meet every member where they understand and engage best.

  1. See-ers. The primary focus of most church communication, the See-ers are all about the visuals, and best take in information through pictures and words. See-ers pay close attention to lyrics projected on the screens during worship and leave no sentence unread in the weekly bulletin. During the sermon, See-ers follow along in their Bibles and take careful notes to re-read throughout the week. The best method of engaging with a See-er is through printed or digital content to be absorbed via the eyes.
  2. Hearers. You won’t find Hearers bored during the service, as taking in information through their ears is their MO. During worship, Hearers are most interested in the combinations of instruments and vocals for each song. While the weekly bulletin is lost on a Hearer, once a pastor or staff member takes the platform to read announcements, Hearers soak up every word. During the sermon, Hearers mentally collect stories and illustrations to help remember the important points of the message. The best method of engaging with a Hearer is through auditory information, such as verbal announcements, phone calls and podcasts, to be absorbed through the ears.
  3. Doers. The most commonly forgotten group, Doers cannot just absorb information, they must interact with it. During worship, a Doer will clap, raise their hands, or even be on stage making the music happen. Neither the weekly bulletin or verbal announcements mean much to a Doer, as they will seek information from others through conversation. During the sermon, Doers scribble, circle, and highlight in their Bibles, research unfamiliar words or topics on their smartphones, and pen notes and diagrams in the margins of their notes. The best method of engaging a Doer is through two-way interaction, whether it be through conversation, social media, or a smart phone app that allows the user to engage with the information.

Every member of your church “listens” differently, so why attempt to use the same strategy to connect with all of them? By integrating several communication strategies, you can effectively reach those who see, hear, and do. How are you serving the See-ers, Hearers, and Doers in your congregation?

Engaging with all three types in the pews shouldn’t require three separate strategies, but one, cohesive communication tool that caters to each. If you are looking to better reach those in your congregation, consider investing in a mobile app for your church. With integrations like sermon outlines, videos, podcasts, and event information, an app could be the key to fine-tuning your communication with the See-ers, Hearers and Doers in your church. Check out our partnership page with BlueBridge ChurchApps to begin  connecting better with your congregation.

This post by  Santiago Jaramillo

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