Clarity Drives Ministry

Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 68

Want to see greater clarity in your ministry, a more productive staff, and an increased impact?  Communicate clearly.

Lack of clarity in communication to ministry leaders delays effective church ministry.  As Donald Miller says, “If you confuse, you lose,” and that is exactly what happens in churches every day.  I don’t think pastors and leaders are usually intentionally vague or misleading, but it happens.  For some, it’s a personality flaw, and for others, a habit.  In either case, it’s something that can be corrected.

Below, we explore three principles for better leadership communication to help you sharpen your leadership.

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Principle 1: Communicate Promptly

Clarity comes from clean lines of communication. Responding to people promptly is a mark of good leadership and communication.

Current technology expands the communication tools available to us, and most of us use multiple methods to communicate with various groups of people in our lives.  This is both a challenge and an opportunity! You might feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of notifications. The key to effective communication in the age of tech is to have a strategy.

How will you communicate with your staff? Your board? The congregation? Set expectations for response times, and be clear about them. How long should someone reasonably wait for an email reply, a text, or a returned call? Create boundaries and expectations with your team, and commit yourself to them.

Many modern methods of communication allow us to see if someone has read our message.  Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, just to name a couple, show this easily.  If you choose to not respond to someone in a reasonable amount of time, you’re not hiding.  You’re showing your cards as a poor communicator. 

Communicating promptly and clearly is a mark of integrity, respect, and leadership.  If you lead a team, you’ll earn their respect for this principle as a part of your skillset.

Principle 2: Be Direct in Your Communication

The biggest barrier to clarity is often insecurity. Insecure leaders feel the need to “couch” their language. What does this look like? If you find yourself saying things like:

  • If you get around to it…
  • Well, let’s circle back to this…
  • No rush, but…
  • If it sounds good to you, maybe we could…
  • That’s a good idea, let me think about that…

If you’ve employed this bad habit for any period of time, your team has surely picked up on it and hates it, but they won’t tell you. 

Indecisiveness, failing to end discussions or a lack of a clear call to action annoy your team, and you lose respect.  Telling someone that their idea is good when it’s not, or that you’ll think about something when you won’t is a way to kick the can down the road for an even more uncomfortable conversation later. 

Leaders lead, and you must master the ability to speak directly.  Unfortunately, leadership comes with tough decisions, but the benefit is a clear direction for the team, and unity in mission and vision.

A great scapegoat for shooting down bad ideas is a clear mission and vision in the church.  If you’ve set your ministry on a clear path, then making sure nothing gets in the way of it or diverts your attention is a must.  Bad ideas with good intentions still need to be dismissed.  The trick here is doing this in a way that builds people up, shows them respect, and helps align them better into the mission and vision.  Kindness is always a winning leadership trait.

Principle 3: Follow Through

Do what you say!  Successful leadership hinges on people believing you when you make a commitment.  Not doing what you said you would is an integrity issue.  Your actions (or inaction) speak louder than your words.  The servant’s heart in a leader ultimately drives your ability to follow through.

All leaders make mistakes, or make a promise in earnest that they discover they cannot keep. Be sure to own your mistakes.  Sooner or later, you’ll make a mistake. Making a mistake does not make you a failure. Not owning up to mistakes is the failure.

A consistent theme in these three ways to drive better communication is the need for clarity in mission and vision. You cannot communicate clearly on a direction that isn’t know or articulated!

But you cannot make good decision about your mission and vision without a good understanding of your church’s current health. Our Church Ministry Analysis is only $99 thanks to the generosity of donors sowing into our ministry for your benefit. 

This guided service helps you understand how your church is doing in six key areas of church health.  Don’t put this off another day.  There’s too much at stake for your church to not be the best it can at making and maturing disciples of Jesus.

A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive. A.J. lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.

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