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Advice for churches to address cancel culture

Churches need to be prepared to handle the onslaught of cancel culture, a leading Christian media expert said.

“As the controversial idea of becoming `woke’ pervades our culture, I’ve been getting more and more questions from pastors and ministry leaders about what to do if cancel culture supporters come after their church or ministry,” said Phil Cooke, a Los Angeles-based writer and producer.

Cooke recently asked several consultants to share their advice. Larry Ross, founder of A. Larry Ross Communications, has these recommendations:

  • Be as prepared for a communications and reputation management crisis as you are for any other natural disaster; these are just manmade.
  • Don’t defend yourself or your ministry; rather define yourself instead of being pejoratively defined by others with an agenda.
  • Have the definition of your brand identity, ministry distinctive and how you serve your community already locked and loaded to have at the ready when needed.
  • Prepare well in advance by crafting talking points and social media posts focusing on who/what your church/ministry is, not necessarily who/what it is not.
  • Have a plan for how you would disseminate those messages out, if attacked. But always remember to be the church.
  • Pay close attention to your lexicon. When in heightened and defensive situations, words can be used to either neutralize or escalate a situation quickly. The best place to start is to make sure the language you use comes from a place of love, not judgement. Try to understand before you seek to be understood.
  • Be relatable to people who may not agree with your position or opinion. They will better respect you for your tone and how it is conveyed
  • Be succinct in your response, focusing on what is true and the big picture.
  • Go back to the basics: “We are all sinners. We are all created in the image of God. We all need grace.”
  • As an encouragement to pastors and ministry leaders (but not necessarily to include in public messaging in a cancel culture attack) when it comes to public response, be confident in your constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of religion and speech.
  • Maintain a posture of humility. Avoid coming across as strident or “in your face.”
  • When engaged in kingdom ministry, trust in God’s providence and protection rather than living in fear of the cancel culture.
  • Closely monitor reputation management. As your ministry increasingly comes under a cultural microscope, make doubly sure your entire leadership, including volunteers, are walking the walk and above reproach.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice