Church Communications: It's a Team Sport

The reality

No one wants to be on a lackluster team. Whether in the context of sports, the workplace, or education, no one likes the feeling of being trapped on a team that lacks excellence, clarity, and chemistry.

While this is true, what is also a reality is that many of us often underestimate the impact we can have on the teams we belong to. Regardless of the role you carry on your team, chances are high that, at some point, you have doubted your own voice, significance, or “fit.”

What could be

As a communicator, you likely interact daily with others in your church or ministry. With all that interaction, you might become increasingly frustrated by someone on your team or some aspect of the team’s culture that needs improvement.

While those dynamics happen for all of us, we can be part of the solution. Through intentionality and humility, you can positively impact the health and performance of your team. I invite you to consider three things you can do today to influence your team toward a better future.

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Most of my frustrations with others (and others with me) stem from poor communication. Miscommunication can slow momentum in our work and cause interpersonal conflict—despite knowing we work with good people with good intentions. Irish writer and activist George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” We may have excellent intentions, but we can all overestimate our alignment with those around us.

We can impact the team we serve on by effectively communicating ourselves and helping create clarity among the team as a whole. Here are a few action steps to consider:

  1. If you’re a leader or a manager, take adequate time to field questions and comments about key topics following a meeting.

  2. If you have lingering questions or frustrations, process them with the right people and get clarity.

  3. Be redundant in sharing important information about a project, event, or change (i.e., share with others verbally, then send a follow-up message—do both, not one or the other).

2. Serve with a smile

It’s hard to beat a magical customer service experience, right? Whether it’s Disney, Chick-fil-A, or your favorite local coffee shop, there’s nothing like knowing someone is happy to serve and help you. What if those you worked with had similar sentiments regarding their interactions with you? What if your teammates saw you as someone who helped lighten the load of those around you?

One of our staff members asked me recently, “Is there anything you’re carrying that I could help with in this season?” His willingness to support me was meaningful, helpful, and very timely. One of the ways we can add value to the team is by serving those around us with humility and joy. Consider these questions:

  1. When did you last ask a co-worker how you could help knock something off their to-do list?
  2. Do those you work closest with see you as self-giving or self-seeking?
  3. Who in your organization could benefit from your help in the next week?

3. Act like you care—because you do

Lastly, I invite you to intentionally show care and concern for those around you.

Care for them by getting to know who they are and what’s going on in the whole of their life—outside of ministry or the role they play in your organization.

It’s far too easy to interact with others on a need-to-know basis or only when required. Warmth, empathy, and genuine interest in others are missing in many workplaces—including ministry settings. The best teams are more than a group of people working toward the same goal. The best teams have people who care for one another.

While many of us can “act like we care,” I invite you to cultivate authentic compassion and concern for those you work with. Your genuine care has the potential to impact those you work with in significant ways. Here are a few ways to act like you care (because you do):

  1. Show interest in the people closest to your teammates. Ask about their significant other or loved ones.

  2. Ask how you can pray for them—then actually pray for them.

  3. Find their favorite snack and surprise them with it as a “just-thinking-of-you” gift.

We all want to be on a great team. Let’s make our teams great by being great teammates who communicate, serve, and care the best we know how.

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