Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Too Much Information?

“I know something you don’t know.” This familiar playground chant really is just the beginning. We all learned early that information is power. We may not say it in the same way as adults, but as we grow older the truth of information being power never goes away.

This is not to say it is bad. It is just true. How people use the power of information is what makes it good or bad.

In today’s world, power is accessible by more people than ever because the information is out there. With the web and blogs and whatever the next generation invents, we all know that being informed is not longer an issue. (Some champions in your ministry may have more info about what is happening than you.)

No longer are the ministry professionals the ones who have a ‘corner on the market’ of information. So when we do our web sites and brochures if all we are doing is spitting out info, we are not telling them much they do not already know. In an information age, our champions have information overload. If all we do is give more information we risk not moving anyone forward in their discipleship journey.

What is the role of the ministry in light of all the information out there? We have the opportunity to provide context for all the information the champion already has.

Let me give you an example:
John Doe lives in EveryTown, USA. EveryTown has the population of about 300,000 people. His mom, Momma Doe, lives in SmallVille, USA; population 5000. Momma Doe hears on the news about a shooting in EveryTown. She reads about it in the newspaper and sees it on the Internet. (Don’t kid yourself, Momma Doe does have Internet, I can prove it by all the forwards of cute little kittens she floods my inbox with every Monday.)

Momma Doe is worried her son John is not safe living in the ‘big’ city. So she calls to ask him to come home. Momma Doe has the information, and it sounds awful, but she does not have the context of the information. So John’s job is to put the information in context. He tells his mom that the shooting was not anywhere near where he lives and works. The shooting was in the drug district, it was the result of a drug deal gone bad, and it happened at 3:00 AM in an all night bar. So John will stay safe so long as he does not frequent the all night bar at 3:00 AM in the drug district and avoids getting involved in a drug deal gone bad.
John put the information in proper context.

Providing context is a great way to help your information sharing now move the champion forward. Once the info is placed in context we can begin to engage the audience at an equipping level that helps them know what to do with all their info. Most everyone has info, not everyone knows what to do with it.

So as you are moving someone forward in Transformational Giving and they say, “Why are you serving in that region, the information I read is that they all are evangelized?” You now have the opportunity to provide the context for the information.

The information a champion knows is not a threat to us, but an asset. First it shows they care enough to be informed, so jump on that and go on the journey with them to give context. Then help them act on what they know.

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