I have been a born-again Christian for more than 40 years. Over that period of time I have had plenty of opportunity to observe leaders, churches and people in general, and the decision-making processes that take place. One thing I’ve found to be a crucial ingredient in the success of decisions made is that of clear communications. When communication is clear and the people know and understand the "whys and wherefores" of that decision, things go much better. Too often in church life decisions are made, then changed, but the changes are not communicated. That’s a recipe for contention!
Today, more than at any other time in the history of the whole world, we have access to "communication aids" like never before. Telephones, cell phones, facsimile machines, call-minders, answer phones, e-mail and letter writing are all available in most parts of our globe. We are living in a "communications age."
There really is no excuse for not communicating. However, the stark reality still is: we can have access to all those aids and yet remain poor communicators!
Let’s just stop for a moment to consider how important clear communication is. To start with, to experience poor communication (and the resulting break-down) makes one realize how necessary it is to be able to clearly communicate what is in your heart, the decisions made, the commitment required, etc.
WHAT DOES POOR COMMUNICATION DO?
Even more seriously, poor communication and/or a break-down in communication destroys a good marriage, divides families and can even cause unfaithfulness and divorce.
Poor communication from a leader will prevent the vision he/she carries from becoming the success it could be. In church life this is crucial. So many leaders think the people carry their vision (because they often "eat, sleep and dream" about it), but if they do not take the time to impart that vision in a clear way to the people, it is likely the vision will not be fulfilled to the expectation of the leader. It has to be shared more than once!
Poor communications in the business world can cost millions of dollars!
WHAT DOES GOOD COMMUNICATION DO?
HOW WELL DO YOU COMMUNICATE?
What does it mean "to communicate"?
It means "to impart (knowledge) or exchange (thoughts, feelings or ideas) by speech, writing, gestures, etc.; to allow (a feeling, emotion, etc.) to be sensed (by) willingly or unwillingly; transmit (to); to have a sympathetic mutual understanding" (Collins).
Communication is not a one-way street. It is an exchange of vision, thoughts, a heart to heart thing. If we don’t capture the heart of those we’re communicating with, what can we accomplish? Not very much.
I have been involved in most levels of church leadership, as well as having the privilege of ministering across the Body of Christ worldwide. One of the most prevalent criticisms I hear is that of the people saying their leaders do not communicate! People want to know what is going on! Mature Christians do not enjoy being treated like small children. We have to take them into our confidence. To build an effective team and produce good team-work, it is essential to have clear communication and trust flowing among all the team members. When that stops, the team spirit begins to break-down.
To fulfil any substantial vision in God means that clear communication has to be happening. There has to be some mutual understanding. We have to allow ourselves to get close enough to the people so they can sense our heart. The mere fact that the leader has the position of authority is no guarantee the vision will be fulfilled! And if the vision can be fulfilled without the people needing to get on board means it is a very small vision - too small!
When I consider all the events of my life, I think the biggest troubles and pains have arisen out of either poor communications or a break-down in communications. Likewise, one of the biggest joys is the restoration of communications! Communication is a vital part of our life! We were created to communicate, to be communal beings. I am regularly communicating with people all around the world. So, how are we going at it?
Ask yourself again, "How well do I communicate?"
If you’re not sure, why not ask a trusted friend to answer that question for you?
WHAT ABOUT COMMUNICATING THE GOSPEL?
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself this question: "How well do I communicate the Gospel or Good News of Jesus?" This question has challenged me greatly in recent times. It came about through the following Scripture:
"Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; He rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved ("to save, i.e. deliver or protect:- heal, preserve, do well, make whole" - Strong’s), but whoever does not believe will be condemned ("to give judgment against, pronounce condemnation against any one" - Bullinger’s). And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His Word by the signs that accompanied it" (Mark 16:14-20 , NIV).
These verses are known as the Great Commission of Jesus to His followers. They are His instructions - His last communiqué - to what the New Testament Church should be occupied with. He challenged them to preach, to communicate clearly the Good News of the Kingdom of God. So important was their communicating that the eternal destinies of their hearers was at stake! Jesus gave His followers the command, but they had to communicate it!
Their communication was vital!
It had to be clear, precise!
Jesus was saying to them, "Whoever listens to what you have to say and believes it will be saved. But whoever does not listen to what you have to say, who rejects your message, will be condemned!" (That’s why we need to preach the Word of God in love, grace, mercy, truth, reality, power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit.)
For years I saw this as the two choices people have with regards to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But now I see that we Christians are right in the middle of those choices. We have the privilege to communicate the message of Jesus. If we do it right and well, there will be people enjoying eternal life in the presence of Jesus because of us! But if we don’t communicate the Gospel right and well, people will make a wrong choice and possibly spend an eternity in hell, also because of us! (2 Corinthians 4:3 ). Now, however way you look at this, it is a very sobering message for us Christians. We are responsible for what we communicate and how we communicate it! It can impact throughout time and into all eternity!
So again, ask yourself this question: "How well do you communicate Christ?"
Lives, destinies, eternal choices are at stake here! As a follower of Jesus you are involved! I am involved! He has chosen you and me to communicate His message to a fallen world.
Our communication, and how well we communicate, is vital in the presentation of the Gospel!
Those hard-hearted, unbelieving followers of Jesus rose up and accepted the challenge of the Great Commission. They threw off their doubts and fears and went forth to "preach the Gospel to every creature." They believed; they rose up; they went forth to preach, to communicate the Message. Jesus went back to heaven, but by His Spirit, He went with them, confirming the Wordthey spake with signs following.
WHAT ABOUT US?
Are we going to rise up with a renewed challenge, to see the importance of the way we communicate, to make sure we do it in a clear and precise way, so that the door of heaven will be opened to those who believe us?
This article is written to help us rise up in the power of the responsibility Jesus has given us and to know we can communicate His Word in such a way as to bring eternal life to our generation. Its intention is not to condemn and/or knock us down.
My desire is that each of us will have the joy of seeing our dreams and visions fulfilled to the glory of God. To do that we must be good at communicating that which is in our heart. God bless you.