If you were to take one guess as to what the biggest problem within churches are today, what would that be? Assuming the church worships truthfully and is otherwise scriptural in all other aspects; what is the principal struggle within your church?
I’ll give you a hint; the church is a family, a conglomerate of various personalities, backgrounds, and viewpoints. It is made up of many different people working towards a common goal. What would you guess is the prevailing obstacle for a married couple? What about for a father and a daughter, or a mother and a son? Where do arguments and discords tend to arise most? I hope you guessed it. They are a result, or more pointedly, a consequence of Communication.
Imagine an athlete preparing for a race. He goes through his stretch routine, girds his mind for the task at hand, and lines up on the track ready to bolt. His body is fully in sync. His legs know precisely when, where, and how fast to move in order to create proper forward momentum. His arms know the exact rhythm and angle to pump in order to allow the legs to fulfill their function. His lungs know how much air to suck in and at which intervals in order to sustain the duress on his body. His core maintains the unity of all these functions as each individual muscle and body system orchestrates their task with respect to the rest of the body.
Now imagine that same athlete. The pistol fires and his mind tells his body to execute the well-rehearsed plan. The legs, however, want to do something else. In fact, both legs decide to do something entirely different. Similarly his arms, and his lungs, and each vital part of the body disregards the other and does only what it desires to do. That athlete is no longer a competitor in that race; more so, that athlete will hardly function as a capable person altogether. (1 Corinthians 12: 12-31)
Communication is both the crutch and springboard for a family, for any relationship, and especially for the church. If conflict arises within the family, with people in your life, or sadly in the church, it is likely a result of poor communication. It’s important to draw a line in this thinking; it’s important to understand the difference in dissonance resulting from communication and dissonance resulting because of communication. The former is a result of the message while the latter is a result of the delivery. We should be careful with both; understanding the message is from Jesus (the word) and the delivery is as Jesus. Our job is not to control the message (as Christ is the head) but to have mastery over its delivery.
Communication is literally the “the meeting of meanings.”
It is a life-long skill and journey that we have to work at. It is the struggle of understanding each other and learning to understand each other. It’s not just simply words either. No, that would be far too easy. In fact, studies have shown that only 8-10% of communication is words while 60-70% is tone of voice and body language.
Whenever you and me are a ‘we’ there is the inevitability of a meeting of meanings. Because we are people; sometimes we don’t listen well; sometimes we don’t communicate our feelings well. Sometimes we don’t know how to express ourselves, to convey the feelings that really matter. Sometimes we don’t know how to get close to open up and communicate the feelings that get us connected and unite us. Because, frankly, that can be scary.
We have to overcome that. Ephesians is the book of the church. It is our guide to communication and unity and strength. Ephesians 4:15-16 is about how the church works. It describes evidence of maturity. Immature people get carried by false doctrine and by the ‘stuffs’ and ‘things’ of this world. But maturity is speaking the truth in love. Speaking truth is easy and speaking love is easy. Doing both is extremely difficult. Communication is trusting. Do you trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? (Mark 12:30). Do you trust your brothers and sisters? Do you know them scary deep? Do they know you scary deep? Let us be a family; let us love as one, trust as one, and communicate as one.