Good communication isn’t just about what you say but it’s about understanding what people hear. Here are some tips to help you effectively communicate with your church.
#1 - Know people’s filters
- When you say God is like a Father, do people have a positive or negative image in mind?
- When you say wives submit to your husbands out of reverence for Christ, are people thinking about Jesus and the church or June and Ward Cleaver?
- When you talk about trust, marriage, forgiveness, transparency, community, etc, are you taking into account that 1/3 of all women have reported being sexual abused and 1/6 of all men have as well?
- How do the church’s sins of the past effect how you talk about racial reconciliation and homosexuality?
- How might individualism effect how people read the Bible?
- How do you think the rise of the prosperity gospel effects how people hear you describe what the Bible says about giving?
- What filters might be present when you talk about the Holy Spirit?
- How has the church’s involvement in politics in the last 50 years affect people’s understanding on what it means to be a Christian?
#2 Stay in touch with the middle average
As pastors, we naturally spend the bulk of our time with leaders or people with big problems. However, rarely do we spend time with the average guy. It’s helpful to get in his world a bit to understand what he’s going through so that you can communicate to him. If not, you were naturally get disconnected and will eventually find it difficult to lead him. The same would be true for spending time with the unchurched. Your preaching has no shot of attracting the unchurched if you don’t personally spend time with at least one person who is unchurched.
#3 Pastoring and preaching go hand in hand
As our church grew, the demand to lead and preach became bigger and bigger and the first thing that was taken off my plate was counseling, which made a lot of sense because there are people around me that are much, much better at it than I am. However, while it is important that pastors prioritize word and prayer ministry (Acts 6), I found it to be a big mistake avoiding counseling and care altogether. The truth is preaching and pastoring go hand in hand. Preaching helps my pastoring because I learn how to apply truth better to individuals. And pasturing helps my preaching because I nobody how people are actually living.
#4 Don’t over generalize and stereo type
You can’t learn about the present generation (millennials) by only reading books. you have to known them as individuals or actually you don’t know them at all. One of the characteristics of millennials is they pride themselves on their uniqueness so even if you right about your generalization, they will reject what you’re saying because you’re making a generalization (and yes, I realize I just made a generalization).
#5 Spend time on your transitions
The thing I spend the most time on besides my introduction and conclusion are my transitions. Putting together good sermon is like laying carpet. Anybody can through carpet down, but the really good ones hide the seams to make it look like one big piece. And that’s what a good sermon looks like…a bunch of different pieces made to look like one big piece.
#6 Listen to other communicators to draw from how they connect
Currently, I am listening to Tim Keller, TD Jakes, Matt Chandler, and Andy Stanley for that reason.