An active election season provides numerous opportunities to observe and listen to the policies and politics of our candidates. After a while, it can become repetitive and tiresome, especially if, like me, you are somewhat of a wonk.
One of the things that continues to grab my attention is when a candidate asks (or doesn’t ask) the listener to do something–vote, volunteer, raise money.
A call to action.
The marketer in me is very familiar with this technique since it is the bedrock of most successful marketing campaigns. The theory is that if you never ask, you may never get what you want.
The “ask” is powerful. It’s short. It’s declarative. Actually, it’s imperative–usually using a verb in the second person–“Do,” “Join,” “Vote.”
Over the last few weeks, Jesus has been preaching to us in parables. Unlike our candidates, he doesn’t shout or call others names or take any roads “to the bottom” as so often happens in our politics. His ask is subtle, even disguised. But if we listen carefully, we know what God wants of us.
As leaders, we must always be attentive to the “ask” that we make of those who follow. You may vocalize it while I may just demonstrate it. But we all do it. Remember the axiom, “Actions speak louder than words,” or the wise saying attributed to St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel, if necessary, use words.”
In your ministry, what is your “ask”? If you put yourself in the shoes of those you lead, would you understand you? Or do you need to clarify your message?