The biggest fault line in any relationship is communication. Without good communication and open dialogue, we are destined for inefficiency, unmet goals, and more often than not, hurt feelings.
We work in churches in teams that reach beyond just the technical aspects of the job. Therefore, it’s important – nay, vital – that we work to create good communication and open dialogue between all team members.
I’ve recently been witness to a total lack of communication in a team at a house of worship. Things were handled astonishingly poorly. The ball was dropped and now the ministry suffers for it.
The powers that be decided there was to be a format change for a specific church program. Instead of having an open dialogue and moderating a meeting about the format change, the volunteers and contractors that had been working the program for years were told they wouldn’t be needed anymore. They were simply cut off, and there was nothing else to be said.
The worst part was that the people who made the decision to change the format were not even the ones to tell these volunteers and contractors. With the carpet ripped out from under them, and unbeknownst to the leaders of the ministry, the volunteers and contractors were pushed aside with little information and feeling abandoned while the ministry program they helped build lost the most fervent supporters.
By the time everyone got around to getting all the information, the damage had been done. What lies in the future of that program rests entirely on the directors and any issues that may be discovered can only be blamed on the individuals that allowed communication to disappear.
Are you willing to risk your mission as a team, your purpose in the pews, and your goals as technicians and engineers for houses or worship be tarnished and destroyed simply because there wasn’t an open inter-team dialogue? The cost is high.
I think we’ve all been in meetings that would have been better spent written in an email. The purpose of creating an open and inter-team dialogue is not to waste time, but to facilitate conversation.
For you and your team, this may look like a weekly meeting to discuss the good, bad, and ugly of what has happened in the week prior. For others, this may look more like an ongoing string of communication.
I can’t say what is best for your team. It will require some brainstorming. What I do want to focus on is what good communication looks like.
Good communication is more than one dimensional. Each dimension includes passive and active forms of communication. The first dimension includes the words that are being spoken. Emails are often one dimensional, as they usually don’t convey anymore information than what is written.
Another dimension is tone. While some tone can be received via the first dimension, it is not always accurate and can often complicate things.
The third dimension is body language. What we are doing with our faces, our hands, and bodies can tell stories much beyond the words coming out of our mouths.
Together it adds up to three-dimensional communication. Anything less than all three dimensions will be left to each person’s interpretation. The accuracy of that is debatable. Communication is everything to humans. We can’t live in a society with ineffective communication since every single thing is dependent upon it.