Church leadership is full of clear and detailed expectations and key measurables. It is also full of random tasks and unexpected situations. In order to build connection with the members of our congregation, ministry leaders are often asked to help in other areas outside their direct role. Connecting with people is vital and executing important details well can make a difference. No matter your role, position or purpose in your church, there is always room for growth as leaders. Regardless if you are brand new to ministry or a 30 year veteran, here are 3 small assignments that every church leader should do well to build connection with people:
#1 The Announcements
I recently visited a church where the student pastor got up on stage to do announcements. As he fumbled through the slides, most of the congregation endeared him with laughter. He mentioned dates and times wrong and ended by asking the worship pastor, “Is that it?” While this may not seem like a big deal, by not taking this part of the service serious this is what he communicated to the whole church, without saying it:
- I was asked to do this but don’t really want to and I didn’t prepare.
- The details of these announcements are not important to me so why should they be important to those listening.
- This is a waste of time for me so go ahead and just tune this part of the service out.
- Don’t take me seriously.
I know that this student pastor is juggling a million things and he probably had to unclog a toilet before he walked up. However, taking the announcement time seriously communicates so much more than we think. Next time you get the opportunity to do announcements, practice what you are going to say. Know the first sentence you are planning to say and the closing sentence you are planning to say. Do your best to not use slides or a piece of paper if you can and make it brief. Make the transition or hand-off to the next person seamless. Take pride in inviting people to participate in the community of your church.
#2 The Phone Calls
Every ministry leader is a shepherd of people. As we shepherd, people get sick or injured or go through crisis. They also get new jobs, have babies and anniversaries. How many times have you heard news about someone in your church or ministry area and have thought, “I should contact them?” Then, you forget, or you wait till the next time you see them at church. This may seem outdated in today’s culture but make the phone calls.
One of the greatest tools of the last twenty years has been the invention of the cell phone. Yes, some may argue it has caused more harm than good, but it is a powerful ministry tool. Phone calls may not be a direct assignment on your to-do list, but they can make a marked difference in your ministry. I had one of my small group leaders get sick about a year ago and he still thanks me for calling him. He wrote me a note soon after expressing his appreciation for just a 2 minute conversation.
It does take time and you have to make time. Here is what I do. Every Thursday at 1:30pm I set a 30 minute timer and make phone calls. I may have 1 or 10, most of the time I always get them done within 30 minutes. I always leave voicemails when I can, and if I know them well I send a text message after I call. I would much rather be known as the leader who always tries to connect with people rather than the leader who has good intentions but never calls or connects.
#3 Proof Emails & Communications
We have all done it. Failing to get all the details right in an email and then sending the dreaded follow-up correction email. Electronic communications are an important part of connecting with people. When you send emails or post on social media platforms, take the time to have someone proof what you have written. Check for spelling, grammar and tone. There is so much grace today when it comes to these things but careless errors can cause confusion and cost you extra time clarifying details.
Many leaders may not have an assistant or ministry team to help to proof communications. In that case, utilize the great online tools to can help catch mistakes. One I love to use is Grammarly. It has a free or a paid service where you can have access to some great insights into your writing.
Before you hit send on important emails or print flyers, make sure someone else sees them and gives you the green light. When planning social media posts, make sure you are communicating all the details. Create a checklist for each post so you won’t miss details. I once posted about an event on Instagram and failed to share the time of that event. It cost me more time answering texts and emails than it did for me to actually just double check the details up front.
Lastly, don’t take corrections from other people personally. Show appreciation that someone saved you time and energy from having to re-do what you should have done in the first place. When you let someone else in on these things it not only makes you look good in the long run, it also communicates that you and your church care about the details.