Relationships are everything.
They could make or mar your congregation and the work you are doing depending on their strength. This is why it is essential to foster the growth of healthy relationships among congregants.
Sadly, many church pastors complain about the state of the relationships between their church members. You hear them speak in frustration about the challenges their facing. The truth is that we need to find ways to strengthen a congregational relationship if the church moves forward. In this post, we will explain five ways to help you achieve this aim.
How to strengthen congregational relationships
Generally, relationships are pretty sensitive, especially in church. The church comprises people of different backgrounds with different mindsets. As such, it may be tough to encourage such individuals to relate with each other.
There are two critical points to focus on when trying to strengthen church relationships:
- Focus more on what is working rather than what isn’t.
- Leaders must pass the baton to the rest of the congregation.
This means that there is a lot to be done to achieve stronger congregational relationships. That is key to congregation management. In this section, we take a look at the different ways to foster stronger congregational relationships.
Effective communication is one of the easiest ways to strengthen relationships among congregants. When we talk about communication, what comes to mind is how the pastor preaches or communicates with the church. It goes beyond this.
What channels of communication do you employ at your church? When you use several communication channels, it is easier for people to communicate. This is because different people have their preferences when it comes to communication channels. Technology has made communication a lot easier with channels ranging from text messaging to social media.
Church communication requires you to create a platform. All you need to do is set the ball rolling and watch the rest of the church take a cue. When people communicate better, they can have healthier relationships.
Organize interactive programs
Another way to improve the quality of relationships among your congregants is by organizing interactive programs. The idea is to create a platform where individuals can meet each other on a neutral ground. Some folks will never talk during services. Many of them even leave immediately after the grace, so there is no communication time, let alone relationships.
This is where interactive programs come in handy. Examples of such programs include a family fun day, sports meet, date night for married couples, and a singles’ hangout. It is almost impossible for attendees to remain uptight during these programs. Ensure that you spice up such programs with activities that will foster interaction.
Discourage judgmental behavior
A very popular scripture says, “Judge not and ye shall not be judged.” The natural man is judgmental and seeks to point fingers at others. But when this occurs, it stifles relationships and could even result in face-offs.
Rather than judge others, we should encourage understanding. It is better to give excuses for others for certain behaviors until we hear their side of the story. Also, remember that the church is a place of healing and repair. As such, we should judge those who come into church dressing absurdly or having bad habits. See it as an opportunity to win them over and make them better individuals. Caution any judgmental comments and encourage congregants to rally around such individuals.
Our perfect example is Jesus Christ. Was He ever judgmental? Since he wasn’t, we should take a cue and watch our congregational relationships get stronger.
Discourage verbal abuse
Sadly, verbal abuse has gradually found its way into the church, from pastors and leaders verbally abusing workers and volunteers to congregants abusing each other. Verbal abuse shouldn’t even be mentioned in church.
It is funny how we find it very difficult to abuse our spouses, children, friends, or family members. Yet, it is so easy to do it to others. The excuse is always, “I need to say my mind.” However, we forget that our mouths should be “fountains of life” as believers. Even if you have to say your mind, there is always a better way.
Proper congregation management requires church leaders to insist against verbal abuse at every level. The absence of this or any other kind of abuse makes it easier to build stronger congregational relationships.
The Bible is filled with several passages on forgiveness. Despite this fact, believers tend to hold on to resentment for very long periods. It is challenging to relate appropriately to someone that you resent or hold a grudge against.
We must insist that congregants forgive those that step on their toes. Like Jesus Christ told Apostle Peter, you should forgive your brother, “seventy times seven times in a day.” Frankly, a person can’t annoy you 490 times a day. In essence, Jesus Christ is telling us never to get tired of forgiving others.
He shows the perfect example by forgiving us every sin. Paul takes it further by saying we should avoid rage and bitterness. Instead, we should be compassionate and kind and forgive one another. When you encourage forgiveness, you are considering how others feel. This way, your congregational relationships will get stronger.
Characteristics of Strong Congregational Relationships
In concluding this post, let’s look at some characteristics of strong congregational relationships. They include but are not restricted to:
- Visible growth.
- Direct interpersonal communication.
- A great sense of humor among brethren.
- Responsibility to see that relationships work.
Use this as a yardstick to measure the quality of the relationships in your church. You may notice a few deficiencies meaning that you need to do some extra work.
We have shown you how to develop stronger congregational relationships. One thing you will notice across all the points is communication. You can explore ChurchPad to enjoy different features that help to improve congregational communication.