Let’s face it, most ministry leaders are terrible at communicating with volunteers, parents, and students. We may be great at preaching, teaching, and coming up with compelling ways to share the gospel, but most of us are lousy communicators when not on a platform. I’m talking to myself here, too.
What I’ve come to learn is that in order to improve, you must first come to terms with how you’re failing. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of 6 ways that ministry leaders fail at communicating effectively. As you read, we’ll walk through common mistakes and also offer some alternatives in order to help you better communicate in the future. Let’s dive in.
#1: You’re Too Busy
The number one reason that ministry leaders fail at communicating is due to being too busy. Effective communication requires intentionality. This is almost impossible to do when you are struggling to keep your head above the water. More often than not, ministry communication seems rushed, unplanned, and is painfully unclear.
In order to communicate effectively, you need to be intentional about your messaging. You need to spend some time thinking about what to say and how best to say it. Don’t try to cram everything in at the last minute. Put some time on your schedule each week to consider what you need to communicate, who you need to communicate it to, and how best to do so.
#2: Past Results Have Made You Frustrated
Many ministry leaders that I know fail at communicating not because they are saying the wrong things, but because they aren’t saying anything at all. It is not uncommon to hear from leaders who admit that they due to poor response rates in the past they’ve given up on trying to communicate with their team. I know it may seem a little far fetched, but chances are you’ve at least asked yourself the question, “Why am I doing this? Will anyone really read this email?”
I know that it can be tough to get back on the horse and give it another try, but communications is something that you must do well. There is not an option to simply not communicate. Your team needs you to lead them and help guide them in the right direction. Please don’t misunderstand, while communication must be done, that still does not give you liberty to not do it well. In order to get different results with your communication, you’re going to need to try new things.
#3: If Everything Is Important, Nothing Is
If I had a dollar for every email that I’ve received labeled as important that really wasn’t, I’d have quite a few dollars. One of the most common mistakes that ministry ministry leaders make is labeling everything as important. You know you’ve done it. You waited a little too long to send the email so in order to make sure people read it, you add the subject line “IMPORTANT INFO ABOUT THIS SUNDAY” to the email before sending.
The problem is that in today’s always-on society, almost every piece of communication seems like it is urgent or important. By labeling everything as important, your team will begin to tune out your emails. Instead, give people the most relevant information. If something really is important, mark it as such, but don’t over do it!
#4: You Haven’t Cast Vision
One of the reasons that most people don’t respond and engage with your communication is because you haven’t cast vision well. You can’t assume that people know why they should engage with you. People are flooded with messages that are all vying for their attention. Your message is just one of dozens that they receive on any given day. In order to make sure they engage, you’ve got to tell them why they should!
Here’s where it gets tricky though. Most ministry leaders feel like they’re already doing this. And to an extent that is true, but many are not doing it well. If casting vision looks like an appeal to desperation or frustration then it will not resonate with the person on the other end. It’s like having that one friend who is always complaining. They’ve told you about all 8,716 ways the world is terrible, but chances are you don’t value what they have to say very much, because they have not given you a compelling why.
Try something like this in your next huddle or when onboarding new members. “In our ministry we have the privilege of helping [insert what you do and why it matters]. As we work to fulfill this mission, I want you to know that every person is vital on this team. From time to time I will send out information about our ministry so that we can all be on the same page and work together to serve the Lord and see our vision come to pass. Sound good?”
#5: You Sound Like A Robot
This one’s a tricky one, but another common reason that ministry leaders fail at communicating is because they way they communicate to their teams is entirely different from how they would talk to someone in a one-on-one conversation. For some reason, there’s this pressure behind communicating in an official capacity that tends to make you lean more towards formality than you would in a regular conversation. This unfortunately makes your communication less effective because the person receiving the message feels less connected with the person sending the message.
Communication should be personal. You’re a real human talking to other real humans, don’t try to sound overly robotic or professional. Just talk the way that you would normally talk. Not only will your message be easier to understand, but it will also seem more authentic.
#6: You Aren’t Using The Right Tool
Up until this point there really hasn’t been a great tool for ministry leaders to communicate with their teams. Most use a combination of email, text, and maybe a chat tool or two thrown into the mix. The problem is that most tools aren’t built for the way ministry leaders need to communicate with their teams. The tools are usually built for marketers or teachers or a small business owner.
We’ve built HuddleUp to be the most effective communications tool for ministry leaders. Building on a track record of helping thousands of leaders train tens of thousands of volunteers, we know what it means to help ministry leaders. As we were able to listen to the struggles and frustrations of so many leaders regarding communication, we knew that we wanted to help solve the problem.
HuddleUp lets you easily communicate with your team members, parents, and students in an all-in-one platform. It’s built in the web browser and works seamlessly for your team members so they never have to download or sign up for another app — it just works. The best part is that it is built around our leading video tools that let you easily create messages for your team to watch, comment on, and gain the information needed to lead well.
HuddleUp launches in just a few weeks and you can join the waiting list here.
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