The last four weeks in my Wednesday eNote I have been sharing learnings from two groups that met over several months during the COVID-19 season; one group made up of large church pastors, and the other a more representative group.  This is the 4th segment of learnings from those meetings.

Communication is everything:
Last week the learnings were about leading from relationships. Communication is one of the keys to effective relationships, fostering, respecting, and advancing as a community bound together by common relationships connected by mission, vision, faith, and love.
Communication is difficult in a normal season.  Few do it well. And even those who do it the best are probably not communicating as well as they think they are.
Who, what, when, where and why!  Old stuff I know, but always applicable when it comes to communication.  We leave out the who and people don’t listen, we leave out the why and people don’t ask, we leave out the when and where and people often ignore, and if we leave out the what people miss the message entirely.

Leadership and communication go hand in hand:
Communicating clearly to a church family and community during seasons of chaos is a key to effective leadership. Communicating clearly to a church family and community is always a key to effective leadership.  The larger the church the more difficult this is, but even the smallest congregation craves the who, what, when, where and why of the church. Communication provides the knowledge that helps people connect and stay connected to each other, the church, the faith of the Church, and the core vision and mission of the church.
In confusing, even chaotic seasons, when people feel helpless, communicating clearly where the church is, what it is doing, when it is doing it, why it is happening a certain way, is critical to help church members stay connected and even empowered by the knowledge that often only the leadership has but everybody needs.

Use every tool to communicate and use them often. Don’t assume everyone knows what you know.  They don’t.
  • Clear and concise!
  • Don’t forget the narrative; there is a positive story of faith and hope that people need to hear.
  • It’s about people; avoid communication being just information.
  • It’s about Jesus; we are a people of faith, get biblical, theological, and personal.
  • Its about the mission and vision of the church; what is this in a chaotic time, do we refocus?
  • It’s about hope; the church is always about good news, don’t duplicate the culture, do what the church does best.
  • Calm, confident, assured directing of the life of the church, providing this for staff, leadership, and the church family consistently.  Once is seldom enough. One style is seldom enough (if staff and key leadership doesn’t know and is not part of the communication process the church is in trouble).
  • Provide tools where the church family can help communicate (social media is a tremendous resource here).
  • Don’t fall into the mode of one and done, communicating important things should be repeated again and again, often using different styles and platforms, but keeping at the core message. Your core members may not need this at the highest level, but the ones you are trying to reach, the more peripheral or new people need this.

Develop a communication plan and follow it carefully.  Communication begins with the outcome you are looking for and works back to the beginning, the gathering of resources you have available, platforms that you can access, the team that can help you (I know it might just be you) and then getting underway.  We can always do this better.
Rev. Mike Ramsdell, Executive Director
Center for Evangelism, Mission & Church Growth