Food For thought
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
 
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:13-15, 22-25
 
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

I am so blessed to have been called to pastoral ministry. It is a joy for me to be able to preach, teach, counsel, and shepherd such faithful congregations as LeValley and Berlin Center United Methodist Churches. Your willingness to serve God both inside and outside God’s church and your desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world warms my heart. You are friendly, welcoming, and caring to all of God’s children. Generally, you live the fruits of the spirit as the Apostle Paul defines them to the church at Galatia in Galatians, chapter 5.

There is just one area that our churches need to work on improving. I must add that this problem is one shared by the church universal.  Because each church is comprised of human beings, I would wager to attest that there is not one church totally divested of this issue.
 
This challenge is communication.
 
One of my favorite authors on church health and growth is Thom Rainer. Below is an article from Thom focused on church communication.
 
Bigger. Stronger. Faster.
 
It’s a mantra you hear from professional athletes and coaches all the time. Successful athletes and teams are often the ones who simply can do more than their opponents. That typically works in sports. But does it translate to other areas of life? Not always.
 
When it comes to business, efficiencies are often more important than being the biggest, strongest, or fastest. It doesn’t always matter if your sales are the greatest or if you have more customers.
 
If your margins are low and your overhead is eating away your profits, efficiency can mean much more than size.
 
But what about churches?
 
More specifically, what about church communications?
 
I would suggest that instead of being concerned with simply communicating more, churches should be focused on communicating more efficiently and effectively. These four steps will help your church determine what efficient
communications look like in your context.
 
1. Determine what works best for your people. There’s no one-size-fits all communications plan for any church. Different churches need different methods of communication. If you listen to your congregants, ask for their input, and pay attention to what seems to resonate with them, you can determine what you should stop doing, keep doing, or start doing.
 
2. Don’t be afraid to try new methods. Unsure if your congregation would respond to an email newsletter? Try sending one per month for a few months and see what the response is. Find champions for new technology in the church to help you spread the word about the benefits of different communications methods.
 

3. Be persistent, but not stubborn or wasteful. Give a new communication initiative a few months before throwing it out. But don’t be afraid to kill some-thing if it doesn’t take, even if you like it, or if you want people to like it. Don’t stick with a communication method just for your own benefit or pleasure. If it isn’t working, don’t continue to waste time and energy on ineffective communications.

 

4. Use tools that foster efficiency. Software—both online and computer-based—is widely available for communications. You have templates in Mailchimp, design templates for Canva, and social media auto-schedulers like Buffer and Hootsuite, dedicated social media apps for on-the-go posting. Use tools that work for your workflow and messages. Finding the right tool, or even a better one, can make a huge difference in the efficient use of your time and your message’s effectiveness.
 
Do you see LeValley/Berlin Center Churches using one or more of these communication methods? Can you think of others that would be more effective? My prayer for us is that we can work together as servants of Jesus Christ for the health of God’s church. I may be wrong, but being an observer as your pastor, I have deduced that any squabbling that may occur among parishioners is a result of lack of communication. I am going to ask the Ad Boards to agree to print the highlights of their decisions in the monthly newsletters. I am also going to encourage the chairs of the committees to submit newsletter articles detailing their duties and the work they have been doing. I really like the idea of a weekly e-mail newsletter. I would be willing to compose and send it, if I can get as many e-mail addresses as possible.
 
I need to repeat, we are not unique. All churches have problems with communication that often result in conflict.. Through better communication, perhaps we can overcome some of the obstacles to grace that we all experience.
 
With love in Christ,
 
Pastor Nancy
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