If I wasn’t part of the ChurchMag Book Club and responsible for a review of a chapter I wouldn’t have made it to Chapter 3. It could be me being impatient. Why did he have to spend three chapters (including the introduction) making a case for the framework/book? I bought the book already didn’t I? It could be that I was in a hurry with other things when I started the book. He could’ve spent less time and words on the first three chapters. Those first three chapters felt like a never-ending cheesy TV infomercial, lauding praise of a product. In this case the StoryBrand book itself.
The actual introduction to the StoryBrand Framework, dubbed, “SB7 Framework”, could’ve come sooner. (Did he need to make a particular length?)
Disclaimer-ish / I should say this: I’ve read some of Donald Miller’s books. He’s a great storyteller. So captivating I often read his books with as few of breaks as possible. Building a StoryBrand is a different genre. And, because he had done well in telling stories, I felt this book was worth my attention.
I’m not the cleverest of people. I went through this chapter at least three times. Partly because I wanted to make sure I never missed a thing, and as part of the book club, I was going to write this. This chapter outlines the SB7 framework. First impression: the Simple SB7 Framework didn’t sound that simple. Seven things to remember. Seven. I thought simple would be reduced to like three easy-to-remember things.
It felt like a lot of work. Then again, creating, simplifying and clarifying your message can be easy, difficult and both. After reading the chapter a couple more I appreciated that it is in some ways a journey. A journey with seven steps or components:
- A character;
- Has a problem;
- And meets a guide;
- Who has a plan;
- And calls them to action;
- That helps them avoid failure;
- And ends in success.
The lightbulb went on when I strung this into a (somewhat imperfect) sentence and not as headings.
A character has a problem and meets a guide who has a plan and calls them to action that helps them avoid failure and ends in success.
The Key Take-Away(s)
At the heart of everything about each of the components is the vantage point. Miller attempts to address the mistake often made: making ourselves the center of the story. What he says is true. Most organizations, churches included, share their message or product from their vantage point. Our focus if is usually on ourselves and not the audience.
Miller calls organizations and communicators to a deliberate empathy; a delving into the audience’s world. Understanding and echoing their need(s) back to them in a way that connects them with what we have to offer. It is more than making our audience the focus or center. It is about speaking to them in their voice. A nuance: it is not about what we have to offer them, it is about what they need.
How This Relates To The Church / Communicators
I don’t know if I could do justice to this but I will try. One of the things that challenged me how we communicate the good news. Are we communicating the gospel from the vantage point of those who need to hear it? Or are we talking at people with our fingers-pointing, “There’s something wrong with you and you need Jesus” kind of message?
Our teaching series could be more effective if we taught from where people are and not just what the text says. Perhaps we don’t emphasize enough what’s at stake. Do we have practical, applicable, clearly communicated plans, that help people, apply to teach? How much are we challenging the Church to action? This could even apply to general comms. We must be clear and tell people what to do with what they’ve heard.
One of the things that helped me grapple with the introduction to the framework was the website. The wwebsite compliments the book and framework. I’d recommend this to help you understand this chapter.
Tip: don’t read this book like you’re reading a book. You have to work through it like you would a guide book.
It took some work to grasp this chapter and the application. I hope it’s easier for you. Catch you later in the book.
How do you see this framework not only changing the marketing of your church, but other aspects as well with the message and evangelism?