Seven Principles of Communication

by | Aug 22, 2012 | Church Leadership, Communication / Preaching

Communication is one of the most important keys of starting and leading a church. I have learned these communication principles the hard way. My father was not a good example for how to communicate, nor was any of the pastors that I worked for in my early years. So, when I became the chief communicator of the churches where I was pastor, it did not come intuitively. Below are seven principles about communication I have learned.

1. Never communicate in anger.

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). An angry outrage hinders communication and hurts relationships.

2. Never correct by email.

Use email to communicate, collaborate and clarify and never to correct. Never. Use the phone or face to face so that they can hear your tone, compassion and genuine concern for them. I only write emails that can be shared publicly.

3. Never communicate more than one layer up or down the organizational structure.

If you want other leaders to lead with effectiveness in their areas of responsibility, communicate only one layer up or one layer down. Work through other leaders and let them communicate to the appropriate people in the organization. Lazy (or arrogant) leaders skip this process. Information should cascade to the right people in the right order.

4. Never communicate a major decision publicly before communicating it privately to key leaders.

When other leaders in the organization hear about decisions made that they had no knowledge about, it diminishes their ability to lead the people in their domain and it disrespects their role. We cannot expect our key people to buy into a decision if they have not had a chance to weigh in on the decision.

5. Never communicate unconfirmed data.

If we want to be taken seriously by others, we cannot exaggerate the truth or interchange speculation as fact. “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Matt. 5:37).

6. Never assume that previous communication is clear enough.

People need information repeated regularly. Over communicating ideas, vision, mission, goals and strategies is necessary. So are procedures, principles and practices.

7. Never miss a chance to communicate the gospel implications of grace, truth, mercy, compassion, justice and redemption. 

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Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas is Pastor of Pastoral Development at The Journey Church in St Louis. He created the Gospel Coach Training and Certification system and has coached hundreds of pastors. Scott has served as President and Network Director of Acts 29 Network. Scott has an MA in Missional Leadership and has been married for 31 years to Jeannie, with whom he has two sons. He planted and replanted churches for 16 years as a lead pastor. Read More About Scott Thomas At His Author Page

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Jeff and I are big fans of quotes. For communicators, a powerful quote that’s well placed will stir your listeners and/or readers. The following are some of our favorites — in fact this is a just a small part of several thousand on hand. Perhaps more quote books will follow… — God’s best to you and your communication gifts — may these be powerful tools in your hands! – Steve Sjogren

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