What's in this session?

  • Downtime in Hawaii (0:44)
  • Get on their level (1:59)
  • Headed to a conference (2:15)
  • Self-deprecation (3:08)
  • Example #1: Episode #116 (4:22)
  • Example #2: Comedians talk about their parents (5:14)
  • Example #3: Pastors talk about wives/staff/friends (7:43)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Scherer: Hey Pro-Church Daily listener, Brady here. We’re doing something that we’ve never done before at Pro-Church Tools. We’re doing a weekly vlog. We’ve actually been trying to do this for several years. We’ve finally published our first one. We’re going to be publishing new episodes every single Sunday. If you go to prochurchvlog.com you can watch the behind the scenes with Pro-Church Tools. Prochurchvlog.com, is where you can watch those episodes. 

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro-Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while we navigate the biggest communication shift that we’ve seen in the last 500 years. 

I’m your host Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Scherer, and today we’re talking about one simple tip for gaining trust with your church. 

Brady Scherer: I was on a trip for Story Tape, to Hawaii, with Brandon and Tristan, two of our drone pilots here at Pro-Church Tools, last week, when we were recording this, I just got back yesterday. And, we had a lot of down time on this trip, because our drone crashed. There’s a whole story behind this, you can watch it on the Pro-Church vlog, prochurchvlog.com, you can see the episode where we crash our drone. It led to this downtime where we found ourselves, at night at least, watching a lot of standup comedy on Netflix-

Alex Mills: As you do. 

Brady Scherer: … and what I found so fascinating about these standup comics, was that they used this simple technique. Usually in the first third of their standup routine that generated a ton of rapport with the audience, built empathy with the audience, and gained the audience’s trust. And I know this because most of the comics that I was watching, because we had so much down time, were comedians that I was not yet familiar with. 

Alex Mills: Okay. 

Brady Scherer: So we watched all the standup routines of the comedians that we loved, then we ran out, and we had to start watching ones that we had never known before. What I found so fascinating was, if I didn’t have a good rapport with the comic, it was very difficult for me to laugh along with them. Because when you are on a stage, and this is true of churches as well, you are elevated both figuratively and literally. You are elevated above everyone that’s sitting in the crowd, and if you want to gain their trust, and this so true in comedy, if you want someone to be vulnerable enough to laugh hysterically, you need to have a certain degree of trust, and likeability, and rapport with that audience. 

I was at a conference, with you recently-

Alex Mills: Yep. 

Brady Scherer: … and we saw a lot of speakers that we weren’t yet familiar with, and I noticed the same thing being in the audience where they would get up on stage and they’re doing their talk, and they’re talking about a lot of vulnerable things. They’re talking about church, existential matters, and if they want me to get on board and trust them, they’ve only got like 30 to 60 minutes. I’ve never met them before, and they’re going to do this huge talk. They need to first get me on board with them as a person. Because, again, they’re elevated on a stage, literally and figuratively, if they want me to believe what they are saying, if they want me to hear and actually trust them, and be willing to take a next step and follow through with the advice with that they’re giving, or follow through laughing along with them, they need to build trust with me first. 

This is a fundamental truth of communication. So you, as a Pastor, whether you’re doing announcements, or sharing a message, or whatever you’re doing when it comes to communication, you need to do this one simple tip. That tip is, self-deprecation. Self-deprecation, where basically, you make fun of yourself, you tear yourself down a little, just to show, look we’re not that different you and I. Sure, I’m on this stage and I’m figuratively and literally elevated above you right now, for these next 30 to 60 minutes. But I’m just like you. I’m not that different from you. 

This is the key, bringing yourself down from this elevation point, to create this rapport between you and the people you’re hoping will listen, and laugh along with you. I’m just like you. 

Alex Mills: Yeah, yeah. 

Brady Scherer: So, how can we do this? We’ve got three different examples of how you can actually create self-deprecation, because you might be listening or watching and thinking, okay, what is self-deprecation actually mean, Brady? And before we jump into those three real life examples, I do want to make the disclaimer that you don’t want to falsely manufacture this-

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Scherer: … you don’t want to do this in such a way where it’s obvious that you’re trying to make fun of yourself. The thing is, there’s no need ever to falsely manufacture this, because we’re all trash people. We all have our own problems. You don’t need to pretend to self-deprecate. All you have to do is find something real, and we all have it. 

Alex Mills: Yeah we all have enough content there, we can-

Brady Scherer: Let’s start with me as an example. On episode 116 of Pro-Church Daily, we were talking about dealing with church conflict, and how this individual had said some hurtful things to me and attacked my integrity, and how I was responding to that. And really, the whole episode is me being like, “And then I took the high road because I am a follower of Christ.” 

Alex Mills: Right. 

Brady Scherer: And I didn’t want people to think like, okay Brady, stop making yourself sound so good about this. And so, I wanted to be honest about how I reacted to this, because sure, I think I ended up taking the high road, but in the moment, and these were the words that I used, “I wanted to throw a tantrum just like my three year old toddler, because I was pissed.” I made sure to include that because at least from my perspective, if I want you to listen to me when it comes to taking this high road and being the good Christian, you gotta realize that I’m not perfect at this. I’m just like everybody else. I’m a screw up, and I’m still trying my best. That’s the way that I used self-deprecation recently. 

I wanted to point out an example of the way that the comics were using this, because I think that it is so difficult to do a 60 minute comedic routine where you want people to laugh hysterically along with you. And I’ve always noticed, in the first third, usually in their routine, they were using these self-deprecation routines and strategies to get the audience on board with them as a human, and to create that likeability. 

As an example, we were watching a lot of John Mulaney, and I wasn’t familiar with John Mulaney at first. But in his routine he did a number of different things with self-deprecation, one that stood out to me was, he talked about his parents at the very beginning of his routine, first third. In particular he talked about his dad. And he talks about how his dad was this very, he didn’t ever beat his son, physically, instead he used psychological warfare on his son. 

So, John as like a young kid, and he’s at the dinner table, and he’s like, “Oh we had this thing at school today, and it was so sad, because Johnny got picked on and these other kids were like beating him up.” And his dad was like, “And where were you?” And then John’s like, “Oh I was over there on the bench.” He’s like, “Son, do you remember what the nay-Sayers of the Nazi’s did in Germany?” And he’s like “No, sir.” “They stood by and did nothing.” He’s like, “Oh okay.” “Now son, how are you different than those people?” “Well I was over there on the bench.” “Really son, so why didn’t you go over and stand up for your friend?” “I was over there on the bench.” “Son, what makes you different from a Nazi?” 

And so, Johns up there on stage and you’re like, man this guy must be successful, there’s thousands of people in this room-

Alex Mills: It’s like, no my dad called me a Nazi at a very young age, so-

Brady Scherer: … and you’re just like oh man, my dad was sometimes mean to me too. John, you’re just like me. Another time that Mulaney does it, he’s talking about an interaction he had once at Saturday Night Live with Mick Jagger, where he used to be a writer. And you hear that and you’re like, “Oh man, he was a writer at Saturday Night Live? This guy’s a big deal.” And he talks about Mick Jagger like working with him. 

Mick Jagger would walk into a room and he would just like own the room. And then John’s like, “When I come into a room I just, you know I knock on the door and I go, hi, sorry, can anyone here borrow me a laptop charger?” And he just like, this guy who was commanding the attention of thousands of people on stage, he says sorry when he makes requests for laptop chargers just like I do. 

Alex Mills: Just like me, yeah. 

Brady Scherer: And once that likeability is build, once that rapport is established, now I can laugh along with John. Because he’s an every person, just like I am. 

Alex Mills: Yeah. And I use this all the time as a Pastor, because not all churches have the elevated stages, but most churches do. I find myself standing up there, like you said, elevated on a stage, on a literal stage but also sometimes in church, like a figurative stage, you know? People look at Pastors and sometimes think we have it all together, and we’re some sort of spiritual authority, and what’s coming out of my mouth is the be all end all. Especially recently, I’ve kind of been more awake to this, and recognized that like, no I actually have to go out of my way to let people know that I’m just one of us, and we’re just figuring this out together. 

Often in a sermon, you know, the frame work will be like, take a passage from Scripture, find the truth, apply it to life. So usually Pastors will take a situation in their own life where they used that truth and made it work and then say, “Well you can do it too. See you next Sunday.” I’m learning that maybe I should share more about the times when I was going through a situation in my life where I had the opportunity to do what the Bible, or Jesus would have done, but in fact I blew it, and I didn’t. And I still don’t have this figured out. I’m still learning this. This thing that I’m talking about right now, from this stage, I’m still learning this. And we’re all learning this together. I don’t have it figured out and neither do you, and that’s the whole point. 

I found that really valuable with people who have been a part of our church for a long time. But also, especially with new time visitors. Coming into church can be intimidating sometimes, especially if you’re not, if you haven’t been a part of a church for a long time. Or maybe you were a part of a church, you left, and then came back, there can be some shame associated to where you’ve been. And to sit in there and look around and think, “Wow, all these people have it all together, and this man or woman, this Pastor standing on the stage, well she’s got it all together. And I’m just down here.” When a Pastor’s willing to pull back the curtain and be like, “No, no, no. I don’t have this all figured out.” 

So, for John to do it in his comedy special, that’s awesome, and it allows us to laugh along with him. But in the church context, it’s so much more. The ramifications of it are so much more important that people can realize when you’re willing to pull back that curtain and say I don’t have it all figured out. This is life. This isn’t a comedy special where we get to laugh along, this is life where we get to live it together. So this is a tool that I’m learning still, but has been super valuable in my communication to the people who belong to our church. 

Brady Scherer: To summarize, when your communicating to a group of people, whether that’s 25, 100, or 10,000, there is an implied and often literal elevation between you and the audience. If you want them to hear what you’re saying and empathize with you, you need to create likeability and rapport. You need to bridge the gap of that separation between you and them. And the best way I’ve found to do that, that one simple tip is self-deprecation. Don’t do it falsely, don’t forget, and I mean this with all kindness. You are a trash person just like Alex, just like me, just like Jonas behind the camera, right now. Use that to create that likeability where people see that you are just an everyday person figuring this out as they are. 

That will do it for this episode of Pro-Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.

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