Methods of Communication
In our past posts (Part 1: With the Word, Part 2: In Person, Part 3: Respecting Spiritual Authority), we have talked about our attitude behind communicating. Speaking the truth in love is our first thought. Along with Part 2 especially, we expect that there are many personal interactions going on with reference to church ministry, far more than we could keep track of – like face to face, phone calls, and ministry communication among a small group. Aside from the multitude of informal conversations, we can conceive of roughly three ways that we communicate more formally with the church body at large. You’ll notice that the first two ways we seek to communicate are directly connected to our regular gatherings as a church. Here are some of our expectations for each way we communicate.
Naturally flowing from our previously stated priorities, the pulpit is the most important context for communication in the church. We emphasize here the personally transmitted word of God by the spiritual leadership of this church. While this is the most important opportunity for communication it means we are also very guarded in what gets communicated here. It is infinitely more important that God speaks here than any of us, and so no matter what else is going on, we will place the reading and preaching of God’s word first. In fact, if that’s the only thing that happens in the pulpit then that’s enough. Announcements can crowd in and steal attention. So, on Sunday morning we’re usually only drawing attention to matters that directly affect the church family and its public worship. There’s no room for, nor do we desire, to give a rundown of all that’s going on in our church from the pulpit. You’ll usually hear about when we are gathering next. We try to avoid making last minute announcements conceived on a Sunday morning. You might have something you’d like to share during a thanksgiving time, but make sure it’s focused on the goodness of God and not just a time where you can grab the mic and make your own announcement. If you do have something you’d like communicated from the pulpit, ask an elder about it first and then make sure the staff have that information before they discuss it at their weekly meeting on Wednesday morning.
Communication in the DG
The next most important way communication comes to our congregation is through our Discipleship Groups. This may come as a surprise to you. If you are not in regular fellowship with your discipleship group, then you might feel left out of some of the church’s communication. Now, we admit that this communication is often disseminated differently because each elder over each DG has different communication styles and varying knowledge of situations. We hope that the DG’s are your opportunity for dialogue and questions. We are working on refining the communication from the elders to the congregation via the DGs and hope that we can grow in our consistency. The elders are remarkably unified in our message to the congregation, but if you feel like there is not clarity, then this is the opportunity to get that. If you don’t feel like you know what’s going on, or if you have an issue you need counsel on, or if you just have a question about anything at all, you cannot say that the church isn’t saying anything about it if you haven’t taken advantage of the direct access you have to one of our elders. When in doubt, your first call about something going on in church should be to the elder you’re assigned to, which corresponds to the DG that you’re in.
This last category is a catch-all for every other form of communication. If what we’re saying is not coming from the pulpit or the Discipleship Groups, then in a sense it is a secondary form. Within the label of supplementary communication, I’ve delineated three sub-categories: handouts, emails, and posted notices.
Handouts include the bulletins or other physical information that is given during church services or the welcome desk. Sometimes it’s good to take something home with you. Your bulletin and the prayer request insert should be something you keep and take advantage of during the week. The prayer requests come from a list where we pick a few items from. The bulletins usually have announcements so that we don’t have to mention that much from the pulpit. Sometimes it’s written down so that we don’t have to take up valuable pulpit time.
Every week on Wednesday we send out our weekly email. Please pray through this list. It generally has all the upcoming announcements you would need to know about. If you don’t get the emails, please let one of our Administrative Assistants know so we can get you that information another way. If you don’t read them, maybe you should have your spouse or someone close to you tell you what’s in those emails weekly.
Every ministry that you’re a part of should send their own emails. Many of them use a Google Group list, but in the office we are trying to keep track of who is in what ministry. Ministry leaders especially should remember to update the office staff if there is a change in who is involved in your ministry.
The last kind of email you might receive is a church-wide prayer request. If there is an urgent prayer request that is directly related to you or your immediate family, please let the office know – email is firstname.lastname@example.org. (Although we care about everybody, we don’t want to overload our inboxes with requests about everybody’s uncle’s mother-in-law’s coworker.) When in doubt, bring every concern of yours up to your DG and the elder of your DG. He can tell you when it should be sent to the whole body.
Posted notices are any kind of information that you must go looking for. We put it out there and then you’ll only know about it if you go looking for it. Posted notices include the GCC Website, the GCC Facebook closed group, and anything posted in the church like flyers, posters, signs and sign-up sheets. We don’t expect these posts to get full church-wide attention. If you’re curious about information that might not be in the email, go looking for it in one of these places, especially the church Facebook group and the website. The Facebook group is pretty random, but usually has something current. The website home page will list service times or cancelations, and don’t forget to check out the resources page and the members only page – there’s lots of useful information, like ministry policies. These blogs are there too. By the way, if you want something posted on the physical bulletin board in the connector, be sure to run it by the office staff first as they try to keep track of what’s there.
Finally, all of these forms of communication are tools we are trying to get better at. We don’t always get it right. Some are out there so that you can go looking for the answers you might need. But if you can’t find it, please ask. We won’t know what you don’t know if you don’t tell us. Please help us be better communicators. It takes the whole family of God working together to make sure we’re all on the same page. Is there something we’ve missed? How are we doing as a church with communication? Do you have any ideas about how you can help our church communicate better? Please give us feedback, it’s an important part of the communication cycle.