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Reducing Word Count

One of the interesting things about our recent super series titled People Matter was the daily devotional. We asked people to limit their devotions to 500 words or less. Having a cap on the text forced people to get to the point—to trim the fat and leave the meat.

I find that I use lots of unnecessary words. I’m trying to be better at self-editing, especially on long emails or letters. Trim the fat and keep the meat. I believe people are so over-exposed to information that they’ll thank me for it. (Unnecessary aside: please don’t actually thank me for short emails.) Whenever possible, I like to follow the five.sentenc.es way of doing email.

As a church, we probably need to “trim some fat” from our communications. The extra words can sometimes cause the message to be lost. We’re working on it, by the way. We’re still working with a consultant to improve our communications strategy. It’s an incredibly long (and sometimes frustrating) process. But I think it will help us communicate more effectively.

So here’s the theological question: Are there areas of our life where we need to “trim the fat” to better communicate the Gospel?

St. Francis of Assisi thinks so. He wrote:

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.

By the way, this post has 228 words, including these.


  1. theasley

    I heard someone once call it “economy of expression.”

  2. Tim

    Good advice!

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