Hi Big Red Congregation and Friends!
Last week I wrote the first segment of a much anticipated council retreat trilogy. That first segment was about the bylaws, operating policies and procedures, and the organizational structure of the council. This week’s segment is about communication and I know you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat to get this second installment! (That’s moderator humor!)
Communication…what does this mean? We do know from our New Beginnings series and Day of Discovery done some months ago, that people generally agree we need to improve our communication. To communicate well, for example, one says things with clarity while another carefully listens, so the speaker’s message is clearly and fully understood by the listener. Easy, right? Well, maybe not easy.
By all accounts, communication includes speaking, listening, reading, and writing. But is also includes broadcasting, mailing, posting, handing out, calling, announcing, reporting, documenting, and summarizing. Past communications need to be filed, organized, located, recalled, reviewed, re-read, acted on, or tossed.
Let’s look at the parties in a communication. The speaker, the listener, the writer, the reader. If one speaks or writes but the other doesn’t listen or read, is there communication? What if the words of the speaker, heard exactly as said by the listener, have an interpretation by the listener that is different from the speaker? Is there communication? What if the words of the writer, read and re-read and re-read again by the reader are interpreted by the reader differently than intended by the writer? Is there communication?
Communication is a beast! It is hard to make it effective. One only needs to look at the bible and consider the multitude of interpretations and meanings that readers all over the world have on the very same words, written in the very same order with the very same spelling and the very same punctuation from the very same version.
So…what is the council going to do about communication? Form a committee, of course! I know…this sounds like a joke, but it’s not. In fact, the bylaws include a standing Communications/Public Relations Committee. Here’s what the bylaws say about this committee:
SECTION 7. COMMUNICATIONS/PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE: The Moderator shall with Council approval appoint a Communications/Public Relations Committee of at least 3 people, designating one as the Chairperson. The committee shall be responsible for publicizing the Church’s work and events to the community through releases to the media, distribution of flyers and other available means. The committee shall ensure the distribution of a newsletter and such other notices as needed to the Congregation.
The council wants to expand the scope of this committee to include looking at ways to help our members feel like they know what is going on in the church. People genuinely just want to feel connected and involved and council wants to facilitate this. In addition, your council wants to improve our filing system so we can spend more time better serving you and less time trying to find the things we need to better serve you!
There’s a lot in this writing and I hope it makes sense. I also hope each of us will be diligent about our role in the communication process. We will speak and write when needed, AND listen and read…even seek out…communications and information when we needed. Your council knows we can improve this process and we are committed to finding better ways of facilitating the communication process! This will be a fun and interesting process, so stay tuned!
Your wanting to be a better communicator Moderator