Whaddyamean I Don’t Communicate!? That’s My Job!!
I worked with a lead pastor for three years who was one of the most incredible pulpiteers I’ve ever heard.
Without an outline in the order of service or instructions from the pulpit, many in the congregation would pull out pen and paper when it was time for the sermon to begin and write in the margins of their Bibles and take copious notes.
The only problem was what it was like to deal with him out of the pulpit. I believe if we could have locked him in a closet between sermons and Bible studies we would have attracted and kept a lot more people in the services.
Communication is obviously important to the spread of the Gospel. This seems self explanatory to me. Anyone pastoring a church who doesn’t believe this is in the wrong vocation!
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom. I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”1
Communicating Is More Than Preaching
So, what about out of the pulpit? It’s sometimes hard to remember that our communications one-to-one are often more important than what we’ve spent the week preparing to say in the pulpit.
Here are 5 important tips for every day communications:
- Ministers need accountability partners, too! Though often reminded that you’re a minister to your staff, there isn’t always a lot said about securing ministry for yourself.
Having an accountability partner is a ministry you need. Cautiously seek out a man you can connect with for your mutual needs and well-being as God’s child.
- Pastors must “think out loud” with their staff. Don’t suppose that what is a logical course of action in your mind will be understood in the same way to your staff. That may be especially true regarding your interest in their well-being. What is happening in your thoughts — questions about what’s happening in your staff member’s lives, directions for ministry & interest in staff’s families — all need to be verbalized.
Staff must reciprocate. It’s only reasonable for your staff to do the same for you. Initiate the process by asking for feedback. Assure them of their safety when they’re honest with you.
- Communicating with your family is critical for your well-being, their assurance of your love and your example of ministering to your own. Don’t slack in this area of ministry — for yourself.
- The way you keep in touch with your congregation outside of the pulpit generates a closeness that gives your listeners a reason to listen when you’re in the pulpit.
I don’t remember where I first read it, but the statement is always sure: “They don’t care what you know unless they know you care.”
- Communicate with love & concern all the time! Even in disagreement, ” . . . speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” 2
Know that your connections are meaningful
Wouldn’t it be a shame to sneak into your own funeral, like Tom Sawyer, only to hear people saying that you did an excellent job in the pulpit, but they wish they could have locked you in the closet between services!?
I think I’d rather hear that it was said that even though I wasn’t the greatest in the pulpit, I was so loved and personable that it didn’t matter . . . whether it was said by staff, congregation or community.
Enjoy your ministry. Enjoy yourself with self-ministry by way of an accountability partner. Be enjoyed by family, staff, congregation . . . all you encounter.
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1 The New International Version. 2011 (2 Ti 4:1–2). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
2 The New International Version. 2011 (Eph 4:15). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.