CHURCH BUSINESS: Every leader needs communications skill
By Oludare Mayowa
“What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” – Proverbs 18:21
“Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, LORD, because you are my mighty rock and my protector.” – Ps 19:14
Our words are so powerful; it can kill or bring to life, it can create deep wound or heal wounds. Our word can lift up souls or bring it down, it can encourage many, same way it can discourage many. It can draw people to us and also drives them away from us.
Though no one can be adjudged master in communications but we can aspire to become skillful in the way we use words rightly to inspire people around us. We can intentionally develop our communications skill to help produce effective result in our ministry and life. We can also develop the consciousness to ensure that our words communicate appropriately our intention, purpose and motive in such manner that our audience is well saturated with the understanding that our words bring to them.
The present generation is more sophisticated and are better exposed compared with the past generation, so leaders should learn to understand their ways first before reaching out to them in words. This generation can discern and read between the lines whatever leaders are communicating with them; they are intellectually developed and exposed to the extent that they have access to more information often than some leaders do today.
The advent of technology has also created wider access to information that it behooves on leaders to up their games and refresh their knowledge, otherwise they would be out of tune with the reality of their time.
Leaders should therefore continuously perfect their communications skill and develop the appetite for knowledge as part of tools they require to impact the lives of their followers/congregation/audience and ensuring they flow with their messages and are blessed always.
Leaders must learn to communicate with clarity, not reactive and not with sentiments and should not mix emotions with their messages because that only last for a while and after sometimes, the reality is down on the people and they usually go back to their previous habit.
As church leaders, there are ample examples from Christ, who is the master of communications and had his way with the appropriate words for the right season. When He chose to speak in parables, those parables are meant to conveying imagery in the minds of His listeners. And whenever he perceived that they do lack the comprehension of his messages, He still find a way to break it down for His disciples to understand.
The Samaritan woman at the Sychar well John 4:7-26
The woman caught in adultery John 8:1-11
As leaders, we need to weigh our words, consider their implications on our audience, the purpose it is meant to achieve and our primary motive for saying what we want to say before we deliver it.
We must understand the significance of our word and messages, once spoken cannot be taken back, so we should not create room for “I don’t really mean that” or “I will like to take back those words.”
Our words should build bridges and not division, promote relationships and not scattered. Our words should bind wound and not open it up, it should boost morale and not demoralizing it.
We should understand that every word counts, there is no unimportant words, even jokes could depict our mindset and be translated to mean our unspoken intention. The word of God warned us that there should be no obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place,
How to improve on our communication
Leaders should learn to listen more than talking and if we must talk we should think through our word before speaking.
Pray for Holy Spirit guidance, the Bible says the spirit searches all things, if we depend on the Holy Spirit, He will give us the right word for the right season.
Leaders should learn to read books on varieties of subjects and works of other great leaders to help them understand how they construct the flows of their words.
The Bible is replete with Jesus’ examples of effective communications, apart from studying the Bible for the purpose of preparing our sermons; we should also study it for syntax, flows, prose, uses of figurative words and to gain insight into Jesus motive when communicating.
What we feed our inner man with tends to reflect in the word we speak at all time, so the question that should preoccupy our minds always is that what manner of ‘food’ you are feeding your inner man as leaders. Who are the people you usually talk with, what types of conversations you engage with your close allies and what do you constantly look at or watch on the television.
What we read, watch and meditate upon have greater influence on the way we speak, so we should be careful what we allow into our system.
The way to gain the confidence of your followers is to learn to engage them through positive and effective communications. As part of your engagement with your congregation, you must also learn the current register of the language they speak and flow with them without necessarily deploying vague and repulsive words. In the Bible days, Jesus conveys his messages through imagery related to agriculture, which provided the right picture His audience could relate with, but should we persist in using the same lingo today, no. Leaders should be adoptive and be conversant with the current register of relevant words and make use of them copiously to illustrate their messages to their audience for clarity and
There are words you are not expected to use as leaders while speaking to either your congregations, in informal communications or even within the conferment of your house. Watch out for those words and avoid them like a plague, because if you don’t identify and do away with such words, they might hurt you and the people you are leading.
Never use words that convey your lack of confidence in the authenticity of your words or the message you are preaching; such words could undermine your integrity and your competence to speak authoritatively on the subject matter.
I have heard some church leaders telling their audience that; “I am not lying to you, I am speaking the mind of God” and I am like, you just gave us reason to doubt your words. There are some who will come on the pulpit to say; “If I am wrong, kindly correct me, but I am sure I am telling the truth.” The reaction such a leader will get is to create more doubt about his or her competence; while the audience could think if you are not sure, why talking or saying it?
Code of communication for leaders
Eph 4:29, Matthew 12:35, Col 5:37,
I will also refer you to the four-way test of the Rotary club, it can be of help in shaping and sharpen our communications skills.
The Rotary four-way test:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all?
Once you are able to filter your conversation either on the altar or on whatever platform through the four-way test, you may be on the road to becoming an effective communicator.