This is a blog from David McGovern's blog! David is a great Student Pastor from escondido, CA! He is one of the most creative people I know! He has such a heart for student ministry! Check out his blog here!
In 1935, Henry Gustav Molaison was an average 9-year-old boy riding his bike down his street. Suddenly, as 9-year-old boys often do, he crashed. But tragically, Henry hit his head and suffered significant brain trauma. From that day forward, Henry’s life began a course plagued by frequent epileptic seizures.
Before you give up on the story, you should know that it has a pretty cool ending. In fact, Henry would go on to make great contributions to cognitive psychology and marketing. Oh, and by the way, Henry was the guy who influenced the length of our phone numbers.
After his traumatic bike accident, his doctors attempted to localize his seizures, so they removed part of Henry’s medial temporal lobes. The surgery left Henry with severe retrograde amnesia.
Here’s the thing about Henry: he could remember everything prior to the surgery, but his brain could not encode new long-term memories. Although he could never remember anything from 5 minutes beforehand, the last 30 seconds were crystal clear to him at all times. Henry’s curious case provided science with the first pieces of evidence that humans have a uniquely powerful yet concise short-term working memory. But here’s the kicker: our short-term memory has a finite capacity.
In 1956, cognitive psychologist George A. Miller suggested that this capacity was SEVEN (plus or minus 3) items. Decades later it was determined to be roughly 2.5 seconds of information. In English, that equates to SEVEN (plus or minus 3) words.
The implication is that people are remarkably better at remembering messages with 7-10 words or less.
The concept of “7 words” is so powerful that some marketing boutiques, like BluePrint, do nothing but help companies arrive at 7 words or less to answer the question, “Why should I choose you?”. Because while companies like Southwest become successful with their consistent answer, the fact of the matter is most organizations lack a concise communication of their purpose.
The challenge for student pastors is this – know your 7 words. Spend some time thinking about some simple words or phrases that clearly communicate what your student ministry is, what it does, and why it’s important. At Solid, we have what we call “The Solid Life”. The Solid Life is a foundation of 7 (plus 3) simple words that define our student ministry. From the time a student enters Solid in 7th grade, until they graduate from Solid in their post-high-school years, at the very minimum, each student should have a firm grasp on these 7 (plus 3) principles and see them in consistent practice in their everyday lives. (Andy Stanley’s “7Checkpoints” and Jeremy Gutshce’s “Exploiting Chaos” helped me out alot with this!)
1. Fearless Faith
2. Disciplined Devotion
3. Moral Boundaries
4. Real Relationships
5. Wise Choices
6. Spiritual Authority
7. Selfless Service
8. Unapologetically Evangelistic
9. Living Worship
10. Apostolic Identity
What are your 7 (plus or minus 3) words? I’d love to hear em. Love you all.
Read more of David's blog here!