As a Christian, nothing is more important or significant as building healthy and strong relationships with members of the congregation. For Christian Leaders, these relationships must be maintained, preserved, and cared for, not just between the Pastor and a church member, but by the Pastor between church members as well. In order to do this, both for the saint in the pew and the leader at the pulpit, communication is the key. But not just any form of communication, but compassionate, effective, and firm communication.
As Pastors and ministry leaders, we must be able to communicate effectively. Communication involves both listening and speaking, but in the role of a Pastor, listening becomes of greater importance than speaking. Once you can understand what the other person is saying, you can then provide a proper response. It is in the response that the skills of rhetoric certainly come to bear. When it comes to Pastoral leadership, when we listen, we must also listen for emotion, and learn to read a person’s body language. While it is important to listen, we must be compassionate, and the way we achieve that is by looking for the emotion in the speaker, seeking to read with the help of the Holy Spirit that which is going on deeper than just what the speaker is saying on the surface. Then we must respond in a tone and manner that is suitable and appropriate for the matter being discussed and the person’s emotional state at the time.
The ability to listen to the needs of your congregation will make you successful in the process of developing sermons and services that will satisfy the spiritual growth of your people. How spiritually mature your congregation is makes for a great measure of the effectiveness of your communication with them. However, you must also be able to speak the word to them in a manner that they can understand and that allows the information to be well received. While you can certainly listen and understand the needs of your people, their listening and understanding what you give them in response, is a whole other matter. This is where Rhetoric and Oratory skills becomes important. As you present the word, you must be able to reach your audience in a manner that doesn’t “tickle their ears,” but that tells the truth with firmness, and gets their attention, while maintaining your compassion.
In a ministry context, communication is of utmost importance if anything is to get done, but not only to get things done, but to get them done in the proper way. While a Pastor might be able to get his or her staff to get certain tasks done, if they do not communicate well, the staff may also be upset or burned out by what is getting done. Firmness is of extraordinary importance in communicating with staff and team members, from staff to pastor and pastor to staff. The staff must be willing and able to communicate with the Pastor to inform them of such problems, and the Pastor must demonstrate a willingness to listen to what they say and respond in a manner fitting their emotional state, but ensuring proper authority and respect is being maintained.
Every aspect of the operation of the modern church organization requires effective communication. The one with the greatest burden to ensure proper communication is being implemented is the Pastor. The Pastor must set the example by showing that they can listen, hearing and understanding while grasping emotion and spiritual need, as well as speak clearly and firmly, and in such a manner as is proper for matching the emotion and spiritual need of the listener. If the Pastor can set the example of how to communicate with compassion, effectiveness, and firmness, others can emulate that example, and the church can succeed effectively in accomplishing its functions and mission as a church.