5 Ways Church Leaders Can Improve Communication

Communicating effectively with your fellow church leaders helps you better accomplish your goals and better serve the needs of the church. One of the key goals of any organization, particularly churches and ministries, should be developing better communication with one another. Here are 5 ways church leaders can improve their communication.

1. Communicate More Often and More Clearly.

A variety of communication problems stem from simply not enough communication. Lack of communication can:

  • Create misunderstandings
  • Lead to gaps in workflow
  • Cause conflict, bitterness, and division.

Assuming your fellow pastors and elders have the same information you do is a sure path to miscommunication. To clarify and check in regularly. Ensure everyone is on the same page and understands what is happening and what is expected of them. Clearly define roles and responsibilities upfront so that there are no surprises further down the road.

2. Prioritize Good Communication

Are there missing links in your church leadership’s communication? Good communication doesn’t come naturally; rather, it’s a skill that takes time, intentionality, and hard work to develop. Taking active steps to improve your communication with one another strengthens you as a team and makes you more effective as you serve your congregation.

3. Don’t Underestimate Nonverbals

Communication is both verbal (what we say) and nonverbal (how we say it). Because words aren’t the only thing we use to communicate, it’s important to be aware of the tone and body language we’re using when we speak.

Why nonverbals matter

Joe Navarro gave a helpful TEDx talk in which he discusses the power of nonverbal communication. He says, “Humans betray what we feel, what we think, what we desire, what we intend, what makes us anxious, and what we fear” by the way we hold ourselves when we speak. “The only way to be truly empathetic is by understanding nonverbals.” How true this is in ministry and how often it is forgotten! If you truly care about your fellow leaders and seek to understand them, pay attention to their (and your!) nonverbals.

How to improve your nonverbal communication

If you’re unsure how you come across to others, start by simply asking your fellow church leaders about your facial expressions, tone, and body language. You can also ask them about the “tone” of your emails, texts, etc. Are you coming across the way you mean to, or is there a disconnect? It might be humbling, embarrassing even, to hear the truth about yourself. But working hard to improve your nonverbal communication is a worthwhile endeavor that pays off in the long run!

4. Be Mindful Of Communication Preferences

church leaders

The church of Acts had it easy, didn’t they? They spoke in person and wrote letters—that’s it! Today’s church leaders have more communication options than any other generation: phone calls, video calls, email, texting, social media, the list goes on. Unfortunately, just because more methods exist doesn’t mean better communicating is happening!

Try to streamline. Minimize miscommunication (or missed communication) by sitting down with your team and asking each individual how they prefer to communicate. Pick a few ways that are convenient and stick with those. Remember, in-person communication should still be your primary method; you should never entirely replace it with virtual options (unless, you know, there’s a pandemic).

5. Know When Less Is More

Remember how we started out by saying you should communicate more? Well, in some scenarios, the opposite is true: sometimes less is more. Take leaders’ meetings, for example. Just because you’re talking for 2 hours doesn’t mean you are constructively communicating with one another. Learn the value of brevity and limit the length of meetings.

Another example when “less is more” is when one of your leaders is hurting or grieving. Let your actions do the talking. Provide meals, offer free babysitting, and other acts of service can sometimes communicate far more love and compassion than a card or a phone call.

When was the last time you did a communication audit? Now is as good a time as any to go through this list with your church leaders and identify how your team can improve.