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March 20, 2012

Improving Communication

Spence Shelton explains why clarity is critical.


Effective communication is essential to healthy small-group ministry. And it can be one of the most difficult tasks for small-group ministry leaders. You need to get your senior pastor and other church leaders on board, communicate your vision and purpose to small-group leaders, and communicate the value of small groups to church members. It's a huge responsibility!

In our most recent resource, Improving Communication for Effective Small-Group Ministry, Spence Shelton explains that clarity is critical, especially when you're trying to explain the value of small-group ministry. Here's an excerpt from his article "Get Your Church Leadership On Board."

I've found it easier to get key leaders on board when I am able to communicate the concept of small-group ministry in very clear language. As point people, it is our job to do all of the research, read all of the books, and work through all of the revisions of philosophy and strategy. You should spend time doing that hard work. In fact, this will make you a better leader as well as reinforce the power of your communication to those you want to get on board.

We must then distill our philosophy and strategy into clear language that can be mentally digested in one conversation. This may be hard work, but the payoff is significant. Here are a few of questions you should be able to answer in one short thought, questions that church leaders will ask you.

What is a small group?

Why do we need small groups?

What is your plan for small groups?

What is the first step you need me to take?

Can you answer each of those in a sentence or two? Do your answers get you excited about small groups? If your answers seem long or uninteresting to you, they will definitely feel that way to other church leaders. Try practicing your answers on some friends who will shoot straight about your communication. Do not underestimate the power of clear, compelling communication.

How well are you able to communicate about your small-group ministry? Can you answer these questions in a clear, concise, and compelling way?

To continue reading this article, check out Improving Communication for Effective Small-Group Ministry. And for a sample from this resource, see Instill the Vision in Your Small-Group Leaders.

posted by Amy Jackson on March 20, 2012 1:38 PM

Related Tags: Communication, Download excerpt, Spence Shelton


Amy, I really enjoyed reading this post as I am currently enrolled in a course at school called Small Group Communication. I feel that what I have learned thus far relates very well to what you have said in this post. In my class we have a pretty big group project which requires a lot of communication and organization between all of the team members. No matter what the team situation may be, in your case a ministry group, or in my current case, a class group project, communication is key and consistently needs to improve as time goes on. What you said about doing the hard work really stuck with me. Doing the research and reading or whatever is needed to better understand the task, is extremely important and necessary for us to become better leaders and communicators in order to work and cooperate better as a team or group.
The questions that you ask about small groups are questions that we have actually gone over in our class. With this being said, here are my answers:

1: A small group is a group of three or more people who think of themselves as a group, are interdependent, communicate with each other and share a common goal. Members of a small groups behaviors affect each other and the group is affected by its environment.
2: We need small groups to help us accomplish tasks that we cannot do by ourselves.
3: My plan for the small group I am in is essentially to raise money for a senior citizen home by organizing a coupon book to be sold. This project is going to take a lot of time, effort, communication and organization as a group if we want to successfully and efficiently accomplish our goal.
4: The first step a group leader needs to take in my opinion is to set up consistent and regular meeting times for the group in order to establish the goal and purpose of the group and to begin planning and communicating all that needs to be done individually and as a whole in order to complete the end goal.

I feel like these are all very important questions for every group to understand and know the answer to in order to have success. If a group does not know why they are a group and what their purpose is, they are setting themselves up for failure. Every group goes through several stages including inclusion and dependency, counter dependency and conflict, trust and structure, work and productivity, and termination. The beginning stages until trust and structure are established in a group can be an absolute wrecking ball for groups if they do not communicate, organize and prioritize correctly.

Thanks for your post!

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