One of the most important instructions Apostle Paul gave the church deals with communication.
According to Colossians 4:6, our communication should be seasoned with salt and gracious. This is very important to avoid miscommunication in the church.
These days, communication is a lot more than just within the four walls of the church. We communicate via several media, including emails and social media. The question that begs an answer is, “how do you avoid miscommunication via these different media?”
We will be answering this question in this post. Before, let’s briefly explain communication and miscommunication.
Explaining communication and miscommunication
Different schools of thought have different definitions of communication. However, they all have one thing in common: exchanging thoughts, information, knowledge, and ideas. For communication to be effective, it must fulfill the desired intention or purpose. In other words, communication is when a person presents a message so that the recipient understands perfectly.
Here are some of the characteristics of effective communication:
- Clear message
- Complete message
- Correct message
- Precise message
- Consideration of the recipient
- Sender’s courtesy
When you observe what effective communication is along with its characteristics, it is easy to explain miscommunication. Miscommunication is everything that communication is not. As such, we can define miscommunication as failing to make information clear to the recipient. It also involves not understanding the message of the sender in clear terms. With this out of the way, here are some ways to avoid miscommunication.
Avoiding Miscommunication In Church
Church communication is an essential aspect of congregation management. There is almost nothing you can get done in church without effective communication. In this section, we will discuss how to avoid miscommunication.
Think before passing a message
Before you ever attempt to pass a message over any media, take some time to think about it. The church is made up of individuals from different tribes and backgrounds. Sometimes, it even has individuals from other nations as well. What may be acceptable to one person can be offensive to another.
Because of this, you need to be careful of the things you say on the pulpit or via social media. Not every message will fly. You must be sensitive to the people listening to you or getting your messages. Just so you know, people are always listening and watching for your mistakes. Say it wrong and you could stir up a lot of trouble.
Your responsibility as a church is to be the voice of hope and a light to the world. Miscommunication completely foils this. Scrutinize every thought a couple of times over before pushing it out as a message. This way, people will hardly get you wrong.
Be sensitive to vibes
We are always communicating, whether we speak or not. This is why it is very easy for communications to go awry. Efficient church communication requires you to be sensitive to vibes. This will allow you to know when you have started miscommunicating so you can fix things early enough.
Being sensitive to vibes makes it easier to nip miscommunication in the bud. There are several clues to watch out for. Some of them include lack of feedback, blank stares, and unexpected emotional reactions. In some cases, you get a prompt in your spirit that your congregation isn’t in tune with the message you are passing.
Of course, these are just clues but it is important not to neglect them. When acting on these clues you must be careful not to come across as belligerent. This could cause things to spiral in the wrong direction. A good way to deal with this is to invite others to provide their opinion and participate in your dialogue.
Avoid being accusatory
Every time we gather in church, we are coming from different experiences. Most times, these experiences shape what we think about and how we react to others. This is why some folks may be in church and they are thinking about the bad day they just had. They are not sinners for doing this, they are just being human.
It is important to look beyond the current situation and show some empathy instead of throwing accusations around. When people are in such a state of mind, they will find it more difficult to assimilate your message or communicate theirs. Instead of saying accusative words, consider their situation and help to soothe their pain.
Employ multiple channels
Once upon a time, we were restricted to just pulpit announcements and church bulletins to communicate. Today, there are several platforms to communicate with your congregation including an embedded Livestream.
When you make use of just one communication channel, you are very likely to miss some members of your congregation. As we mentioned earlier, asides from the pulpit, you can make use of email newsletters, social media, and bulk SMS. Church management software like ChurchPad can help you maximize multiple communication channels.
Avoid insider language
Do you know one of the biggest modes of miscommunication in the church? If you just said “insider language” then you are right.
What is insider language? It is simply language that members of your congregation can understand. Every time you are sending out information, always consider the possibility that you may have first-timers.
A clear example of insider language is saying, “Meet Sister Betty if you want to join the ushering unit.” How is a first-timer going to know who Sister Betty is? Instead, you should provide a phone number, email address, or a part of the church for further information. It is only at this point that you can say that you have completely passed the message. Without this, only a few members of your congregation can take the required action.
The more your church employs different channels of communication, the less miscommunication you will suffer. We have explained several measures that you can take to avoid this issue.