Communication and Leadership — the Sender

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IMGP9030Brad is the Communications Catalyst at Home Office. This is his second instalment of a series exploring and discussing communication’s relationship to leadership, especially in the context of church.

Hopefully through this series, we can reflect on communication in our unique contexts together.

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As the initiators of communication, or senders, responsibility for good communication rests squarely on our shoulders.

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Let’s be honest: no-one but us cares about our message. Not yet, at least. If it matters to us, then we must do the hard work of making it matter to others. When there’s a big chasm between what is expected and what is delivered, there are big frustrations, big conflicts, or big laughs. If those aren’t the ends you’re looking for, then please pay attention to the following sentence.

The further the chasm between the sender’s idea and what the receiver anticipates, the harder the work it takes to connect!

This applies on all scales through a church. There are many, many more sources of information in a church than there are people. But for now, let’s stick with formal channels: the board, the pastor and, if applicable, the staff. This is where the church’s most important information exists. People don’t need to know all the specifics that a church’s leadership is dealing with.

  • Irresponsibly disclosing personal, sensitive matters would almost certainly damage a congregation’s trust in its leadership.
  • Sharing ideas and decisions that aren’t gelled yet can be very confusing and upsetting.
  • Even more problematically, sharing internal disagreements that a board or leadership team is going through can easily ruin its cohesion and credibility.

But to put it in tension, not revealing things that should be common knowledge also causes serious dysfunction. These include:

  • things falling between the cracks
  • needless duplication of labour
  • chronic misalignment
  • and if left untended too long, deep-seated mistrust.

You may have noticed that trust is listed as something that’s lost with both too much communication, and not enough. That’s not a mistake. That is a tension to be diligently honest about in communication (one of several). Trust is an essential and often overlooked component of leadership.

Trust is built in the tensions in the middle, and quickly lost on the edges.

With no trust there can be no leadership. Whether our communication leads or follows power is debatable, but it is undeniable that there is a strong, often strange relationship at work between them.

There are lots of workable communication models. On their own, generally, diverse approaches aren’t inherently wrong. For example, I believe there are several ways to operate with the EFCC’s value of congregationalism,

However, what is wrong is:

  • not taking stock of the church’s communication needs and preferences
  • not clearly identifying the kind of church you want to be
  • setting false expectations!

In this, it’s also very important for leaders to note that personal preference informs perception — this applies to leaders and followers. As if that wasn’t tricky enough, people are usually more likely to notice something that goes against their preferences than aligns with them. I don’t know why that is, but it is! (Indeed,  it may be important to remind people of their stated preferences and expectations from time to time.)

Effective communication intersects in the midst of several tensions. Too much information. Not enough. Too many reminders. Not enough. Too many channels. Not enough.

Not only is it a delicate process to determine a workable and mutually-comfortable level, but it’s also delicate to maintain it. The temptation is strong to either ignore crashes, or to fix them with strong-arm policy.

But the only way to fix relationships is through building and rebuilding trust.

On its own, communication cannot build (or rebuild) trust. But it is an absolutely essential component of any attempt. It is an honourable thing to communicate well. As a sender you make all the first choices. This includes the message, the tone, the medium, mitigating distractions, and even the mechanisms for response (or the lack thereof).

By taking these responsibilities seriously, we give our important messages the best chance of being received correctly and engaged with appropriately. Good communication is an honourable goal. We’ll address more specifics in follow-up posts.

In the meantime, if you want to add your thoughts to this piece, comments are open!

The Pulse — The Final Chapter

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Here is the final chapter of this model of the Pulse. Don’t waste too much time mourning, though: the new Pulse is going live very soon!

(You can see more about the new Pulse by clicking here, and you can subscribe by clicking here.)

In this edition, we examine the last article in our Statement of Faith, we introduce our church-planting network (#EFCCcpn), and we pay tribute to the legacy of faith in the lives of Chuck Nichols and Ken Lawrence.

To read the Pulse click here:

Pulse — The Final Chapter

And don’t forget to share this with anyone you think would be interested! :-)

EFCC Conference 2014

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We are excited to welcome Ed Stetzer as our plenary speaker for Amplify, this year’s EFCC Conference!

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Ed Stetzer is well-known in North America as an expert in church planting and church multiplication.  He is the president of LifeWay Research, contributing editor to Christianity Today (“The Exchange”), and Visiting Professor of Research and Missiology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Over the past twenty years, Dr. Stetzer has planted churches and trained pastors on five continents, this in addition to serving as lead pastor at Grace Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He holds two masters degrees and two earned doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books.  Ed will be joining Conference to shed light on the realities and challenges of church growth and planting currently facing the EFCC.

Join us as Ed leads sessions on witnessing, creating disciples, and multiplying churches. Conference 2014 will be a time of fellowship and encouragement, and an opportunity to hear and share the stories of God’s work throughout the entire EFCC family!

The Amplify Brochure (Including Schedule)

Browse all the Conference details by clicking this link to our Conference Brochure.

The Amplify Workshops

This will give you a taste of what you can expect at Conference this summer.

General Info

Date
7-9 August 2014

City
Winnipeg, MB

Conference Pricing
Conference Registration costs $175 for each attendee. This is a flat-rate price that includes the following:

  • business sessions
  • coffee breaks
  • Seminars (make your selections when you register)
  • plenary sessions
  • evening receptions
  • Celebration banquet (Thursday night)

Additional/Optional Costs
Childcare: $25 per child. We are offering childcare, from ages 0-12. Snacks will be provided at each session of the Children’s Program and a light meal will be provided during the Celebration Banquet.
TWS Luncheon: $20 per attendee. In this session, you will hear about the dreams, vision and goals of the EFCC’s affiliate seminary, as it equips new leaders for ministry.

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Please note! Your Conference Registration Fee does not include accommodations. The EFCC has partnered with Canad Inns, who are offering discount rates to Conference attendees at each of its several locations throughout Winnipeg. To receive the conference rate when you book your room, contact the hotel* directly, and let them know that you are with the “Evangelical Free Church of Canada”. The cut-off date for reservations at the conference rate is July 7, 2014.

*Call Canad Inns toll free at 1-888-33CANAD (22623), or visit their website at www.canadinns.com.

All 2014 EFCC Conference Events will be held at: Winnipeg EFC, 500 Lagimodière Blvd, Winnipeg, MB