Communication
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14(NIV)
 
What do you think is one of the biggest problems in our churches today? Would you say finances, declining membership, no children, weak pastoral leadership, lack of willing volunteers? I’m sure if I polled all of you, I would get a plethora of answers. Well, I haven’t studied any statistics, but, I think at, or near, the top of the list of church problems is communication.
 
When I meet with couples for pre-marital counseling, I spend much of our time together talking about the importance of communication. Each of us is an individual with a unique personality, values, and background. When we enter into a marriage covenant, we become one with Christ, just as when we join a church we become one body of Christ. That said, yes, we are one in many ways, but we are still individuals. There will be times of disagreement, both in marriage and as members of a church. So, how can we deal with disagreements in a healthy manner? COMMUNICATION! Talk about what’s on your mind. If we hold our thoughts internally, they continue to grow, at times becoming larger than the actual problem.. Secondly, we need to talk about the issue with the one with whom we have a problem. If we are so upset and discuss our anger with others, it often becomes like the game of telephone that we played as children.

Were you ever a participant in the game? Everyone would sit in a circle. The first person would whisper something in the next person’s ear. The next person would repeat it to the next. The exercise would continue until the last person received the message. Whew! How it would change from person to person. This scenario helps clearly show how small misconceptions can end up making a huge difference. Many times, with the changes made in the statement, the responses become unhealthy, hurtful gossip.

I have seen and heard this happen in the church more often than I want to admit. I even had someone tell me once that he didn’t want his illness put on the prayer chain, because even though it wasn’t that serious, by the time it got back to him he would be close to death.
 
So, after this rabbit trail I have taken you on, what I’m trying to say is discuss your issue with the person with who you have the problem. When the two of you talk, you may come to a better understanding of where the other one is coming from. Then, just as I tell my couples preparing for marriage, you will either come to a compromise, learn to coexist (agree to disagree), or concede. That is the difficult one. To admit that someone else was right and you were wrong.
 
A second area of communication that is especially important to organizations like the church is ensuring that everyone in the church is made aware of what is happening. Examples at LeValley and Berlin Center are the closing of the LeValley Christian Childcare, the locking of the LeValley Church during the day when just the pastor and Cindy are the only ones working in the building, the financial status of the churches, where volunteers are needed, etc.
 

The administrative board minutes, or a summary of the minutes, should be printed in each newsletter. Important information should be announced prior to worship, either verbally or on the screen. Potential initiatives need to be shared and, just as disagreements between individuals need to be aired, disagreements in the church need to be communicated, discussed, and resolved.

Communication is so important among people of all ages. Misunderstandings can be avoided, and great things can be accomplished when there is open communication. Words can hurt or they can encourage, they can teach or they can tear down, but no matter what they are very powerful. They are also a huge reflection of what is in our heart.

Good communication between people is of great importance in our society today. God’s word gives us valuable insights into how we should speak to and treat one another, and as Christians we should seek to be a blessing to everyone that we come into contact with. Our words are a reflection of what is in our hearts, so we should constantly be filling our hearts and minds with what is best. The apostle Paul encourages us in this way,
 
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is love-ly, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8(NIV)
 
If we follow God’s word, then our communication and relationships with others will not only improve but we will have favor and be blessed.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29(NIV)
 
Pastor Nancy