Communicating the Issue

It’s amazing how often conflicts can be widdled down to a lack of communication. This is true in the business world as well as in ministry. Before I went into full-time ministry, I had a lot of false expectations.

-Quiet times will be easy. I can sit at my desk and read to my hearts content.

-The stress will be a lot less..after all, I’ll be working with believers.

-Communication will be simple. We’re all working for the same cause.

Sounds great, but unfortunately this isn’t always reality. The truth is, ministry is challenging and communicating inside of ministry, takes a lot of effort. In my 2 1/2 years at Vale, I’ve learned this lesson on many different occasions. Weather it’s communicating with the rest of the staff or communicating with my volunteers, I’ve learned that it’s not always easy to pull it off. Even more difficult, is learning to communicate in the midst of conflict.

Just like “real life”, conflict arises in ministry more often than anyone would care to admit. Lack of communication can turn a simple misunderstanding into a divisive issue. Here are 3 steps that have helped me handle these situations.

1. Go to the source: It’s wise to seek council when issues arise, however it’s unwise to get that council from other staff members who may have the same frustrations. Go to the source, lay out the issue and prayerfully resolve it.

2. As I said above, seek council. Everyone needs somebody outside of their immediate “ministry bubble” who can be a source of encouragement, accountability and friendship.

3. Be humble. YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT! You can’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder and expect to have the issue or conflict resolved. It’s okay to be wrong…believe me, I have been…and I’ve lived through it!

I wish I could say I always follow my own advice, but the truth is it’s a lot easier said than done. In the end, ministry is a struggle, but it’s a joyous struggle. As long as the lines of communication remain open, great things can happen between you, your volunteers and the staff you minister with.

One Response

  1. This has been stuck in my mind since I read it a few days ago. If I could list my top ten pastoral frustrations, there is no doubt that people who do not go to the source would make the list. I am continually blown away that people would quicker nurse a rumor with “well-informed” friends than just ask the source. It makes me wonder if people really want to solve the problem or just nurture a grudge.

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