I’m thinking Bono might be one of the most effective communicators of our day. Better than most preachers, actually.
More than a few musicians stand for something, but is there anyone who has gotten the message out more widely and clearly than Bono?
So why is Bono effective? Three primary reasons catch me:
1. The themes he uses have universal appeal. There is a God-given core longing in each of us for love, unity, peace and an unselfish use of power.
2. He always communicates the same message. Through his words and actions, Bono continues to leverage four themes: love, unity, peace and using power to benefit those without power.
3. Bono uses many media to repeat the message. Words, video clips, press conferences, talks and (of course) music combine to get the message home.
What’s the lesson for preachers?
1. Communicate what matters to everyone. What scares me is that you could go to many churches for a month and not hear anyone talk about love, unity, peace or the selfless use of power. Bono may have actually taken what continues to attract non-Christians to Jesus and made them his core message. Lots of people who would never go to church are intrigued by Jesus. They love who he was, what he stood for, and Jesus’ message resonates with the image of God inside each of us. Why can’t we cooperate with that and find some bridges in the story? Not saying we can’t touch hard subjects (I preached on demonization yesterday), but I am saying there is a core that resonates with everyone. Find it. Preach it.
2. Don’t be afraid to repeat the same theme. The temptation I feel is the temptation you feel: to be relevant we need to say something new. Most people don’t remember what we said last week. Live out your core convictions (if you got ‘em).
3. Remember that everything you do in a service communicates, not just the message. At Connexus, we’ve learned to pick our music to reflect the message and structure the entire service to back up the bottom line.
What have you learned from Bono or other effective communicators? Why do you think his message is so sticky? What can we learn as leaders from Bono?