CPR can save a life. It’s been around since 1740, and even though many people know CPR, 70% feel helpless to act. It’s not hard to learn. It’s really very basic and straightforward. Advanced degrees are not required. Only a little bit of time, a willingness to learn something new, and the determination to put it into practice are all that’s needed.This brings us to the question, do you and your small groups need CPR? Not the Cardiopulmonary resuscitation we’re familiar with, but CPR with the way you communicate: cultural popular references.
CPR: Cultural Popular References
This is where you reach out and connect with your small group leaders and members, using your local and regional cultural influences. Cultural popular refernces require more than just “knowing” these influences, you must actively make them part of your verbal, written, and image communications.
I was raised in Baltimore, MD which is known for crab cakes, the Orioles, the Ravens, Fort McHenry, and the national anthem (to name a few). I now live in Central Florida, which is known for citrus, cattle, Disney World and Universal Studios. Not exactly a lot of overlap there.
I’m the one who has to shift my weight and change how I communicate. References to where I grew up are not going to catch a lot of attention or connect with the people in my area. However, references to and analogies tied to citrus, Disney, and other local topics of interest will connect right away.
Jesus used cultural popular references. He used local word pictures that everyone was familiar with. He told them to look at:
- Birds of the air – Matthew 6:26
- Speck of sawdust – Matthew 7:3
- Denarius – Mark 12:15
- Fields – John 4:35
Here are the 3 keys to put cultural popular refernces into your communications. When properly applied, CPR will get your communications “pumping” again.
I can assure you that your local culture is influenced by the big, outside influences. But there are many smaller, local, influences that you need to fold into your vocabulary and communications. You can find them all around you.
- Local farmers’ markets – What kind of vendors, foods, products, and services are available? This shows where people are investing their time. Talk with the vendors, ask why they got involved, how they are doing, what their experience has been, and where their plans are taking them?
- Local/regional papers – They are in the business of catering to who and what people are interested in. Watch local news reporting for human interest stories. Be especially watchful for the topics being written about in the Opinions and Letters To The Editor section. If people are willing to go to the trouble of writing, then they must feel strongly.
- Local social media sites – These are a bit dicer because anyone with a cell phone can write just about anything and have an equal voice. But there may be some good sources to help keep you connected.
I know what you’re thinking. We are not of the world; we are to be separate. But separation does not mean isolation or no interaction. If Jesus connected, then we must also.
- Marriage reception – John 2:1-12
- Matthew’s dinner party – Matthew 9:10-12
- Syrophoenician Woman – Mark 7:25-30
- Movies – There are lots and lots of movie clips available on all sorts of websites that you can connect with. They can be directly Christian in content, neutral, or even describe the opposite.
- Television – I personally like to use clips from old TV shows, commercials, and comedies. There is lots of great, popular content available: The Chosen is right at the top of my list today.
- Sports – Interviews are being posted every day that hold lots of possibilities. Most recently, Derek Carr, quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders talked about how “all of the self-glory is fleeting. God took me to a place where all I want to do is glorify Him.” Good stuff – thanks Derek.
This is where you take the Cultural and Popular content and bring it into focus based on the truth you are trying to communicate. You use the Cultural and Popular to draw attention, enhance, and energize your content and the people you’re connecting with. Rather than go on describing Reference, here are three examples from an oldie but a goodie, Chariots of Fire.
- Purpose: when I run I feel His pleasure. Our purpose and life is fulfilled when we align the gifts and talents He’s given, using them for His glory (2)
- Failure: Harold Abrams life is based on winning. He has no contentment or peace. He has 10 seconds to justify his existence (3).
- Perseverance: Even if we’re knocked down, we’re never knocked out, 2 Corinthians 4:7-13, JB Phillips (5).
I have literally hundreds of potential CPR links for your communication opportunities. More are available each and every day. More sports, more meetings, more events are easily available to connect and communicate with.
If you need one, contact me and I’d be honored to help you learn Cultural Popular References.
This article on cultural popular references original appeared here, and is used by permission.