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Is writing good social media captions sort of like writing good sermons?

In a meeting last week, a participant in my Membership Program "confessed" that she had recently used my caption-writing prompts to write a sermon.

Those prompts are:

- Who are we?

- Why does it matter?

- Why should you care?

From my client: "Obviously, the questions need to be tweaked just a bit for a sermon, but ... I intend to use this lens/rubric more!"

I was initially surprised to learn of her application of these questions to sermon writing, but then realized that I probably shouldn't be.

Good communication—whether it's on social media, from the pulpit, on your website, or even in intimate conversations—is always about helping the other person connect with what we're saying by making it abundantly obvious why they should care, why it isn't just relevant to them but might even be important.

I'm teaching a one-time, two-hour class on caption writing next week, so this conversation with my client was well timed. There are, of course, some very practical components to what I will teach—formatting, length, structure, etc.

But ultimately, writing a good caption is very much like writing a good sermon. We write not for the person reading or listening, and not for ourselves. We write so that our message sits at the intersection of what they need to hear and what we want to say. That can only happen when communication reflects relationship, instead of the perceived urgency of our independent interests.

All good—and by good, I mean effective—communication is about relationship and an understanding of all parties' needs and wants.

This blog post is a great example.

What are my wants? Well, obviously I'd love for you to sign up for my caption-writing class next Thursday. I supposed I also want you to conclude from your interaction with this content that I am an expert in my field.

What are your needs? An improved understanding of digital communication—especially in the social media space—and how to better connect with others using digital tools.

Start by never undervaluing a social media caption, and approach it with the same desire for relationship with your congregation that is essential to the sermons you write weekly!

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