A professor of communication once told me in conversation that for each person in the congregation there is a different form of communication. People communicate in a countless number of ways. That’s way effectiveness as leaders requires the skill of communicating, not only consistently, but also differently. Because there are so many different avenues for communication it is easy to see why it is important in any organization. Here are three reasons you will want to communicate effectively.

1. Communication is important because it engages people in the mission.

People feel informed and engaged when information is shared.[1] The information shared may vary, but the people, volunteers, and staff should have a good understanding of what they can expect to be shared. For example, they may be informed about major initiatives in the church, but they may not be informed about all the purchases made during any given week. Additionally, the church should know how information will be communicated to them. The leadership needs to define the primary method of communication, which may be anything from website, pulpit announcements, a weekly email, or social media. All of these are effective ways to communicate, but the church needs to know what they can expect. Finally, the congregation needs to know when they can expect information to be shared with them, whether this happens once a week during a Sunday worship service or once a quarter in a newsletter. When the church knows what, how, and when information is communicated, its people are in the know.

2. Communication is important because it builds trust in the mission.

Charles Tidwell writes, “Administrative leaders who wish to be effective must continue to grow in their skill of communicating.”[2] When a leader communicates well, she builds trust with her followers. The secret to building trust through communication is consistency.[3] The more the leader communicates with members, volunteers, and staff, the more credibility the leader receives. Regularity of communication shows that there is nothing to hide; all is made known to the people. It tells people that the leader cares about their opinions, desires for them to be aware of important decisions, and chooses to keep them informed. The most important part of communication is not the process by which information is shared, but its “consistency and thoroughness.”[4] When communication is consistent and thorough, trust of the leader is established and built.

3. Communication is important because it clarifies the purpose of the mission.

In his book, Creating Magic, Lee Cockerell explains how he has learned that, “Clear communication is one of the leader’s principal tasks, especially when it comes to responsibility and authority.”[5] As she leads her staff, the effective leader conveys each member’s responsibility in the organization, as well as, the extent of his/her authority. The error of not communicating these clearly is staff members who are unsure of what they are to be doing in the organization and the unwillingness to delegate or receive direction. As the leader communicates these terms, she establishes her own authority as she clarifies the purpose, determines objectives, develops plans, designs organization, and administers resources.[6] The leader who communicates these items clearly proves that he deserves to be in the position of authority.

Next week I’m going to share some practical ways to communicate effectively. I’ll provide some communication tools to help you communicate with your people to engage them, build trust, and to clarify the mission.

[1] Lotich, Smart Church Management, 45.

[2] Charles Tidwell, Church Administration (Nashville, Tenn: B&H Academic, 1985), 220.

[3] Lotich, Smart Church Management, 46.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Lee Cockerell, Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (New York: Currency Doubleday, 2008), 64.

[6] Tidwell, Church Administration, 220.

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