Interpersonal Leadership: Communication
“Communication Tasks and Functions” (SL#45)
by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® 7.3 - Interpersonal Communication

In Christian leadership and life, interpersonal communication is always dependent upon its central message--the love of God in Jesus Christ toward all people. That love should shape the context and content of communication in ministry leadership.

Theory and Function:
Not to oversimplify, but as you examine your biblical and practical tasks and functions, consider how a communication theory may view functions/tasks:

To repeat, Mary Ellen Guffey states in her text, Business Communication, that communication is the “transmission of information and meaning from one individual or group to another. . . . Communication has as its central objective the transmission of meaning.” (p.11) That should filter as well into every Christian ministry task mentioned below; Meaning is our foremost communication function.

Although we may have different roles and positions, many of us do have similar tasks in our personal life and even in our ministry tasks. To the extent that we consciously identify our tasks, we step toward improving our communication behavior. The following list focuses on work, but you may add your own work and personal items that demand communication skills. Be sure to season generously with “please,” “when it fits your schedule,” “thank you,” etc.; that also communicates meaning.

Communication for Ministry Tasks and Functions

  1. ____ giving instructions:
    Always post the hospital/prayer list by 9:30 A.M.

  2. ____ supervising employees:
    Finish your work goals for the next six months; then let’s meet tomorrow at 1:30 P.M.

  3. ____ directing volunteers:
    At least five of your committee members will need to meet in Room 106 every Monday at 9 A.M.

  4. ____ counseling/guiding/comforting:
    That’s a tough problem you’ve shared; I’d like to help you work through the issues and options. Let me hear what you have thought so far.

  5. ____ building trust/confidence:
    You’ve got a great idea about debt reduction. After we discuss it together, I may want you to share it with the Finance Committee.

  6. ____ nurturing fellowship, “hanging out”:
    Let’s eat together Wednesday night at dinner and catch up on your recent promotion.

  7. ____ sharing information:
    I’ll fax you the full report, but the five main points are: 1), 2), 3), 4), 5).

  8. ____ making appointments:
    Can you meet at 9 A.M. Tuesday (5/20) here at the office? Please bring your notes.

  9. ____ mentoring/coaching/team building:
    Look at these options with your team and advise me what to do.

  10. ____ convening small groups:
    It will take the four of us about one hour (7-8 P.M.) on Thursday to finish. Please call the other two.

  11. ____ witnessing/testimony:
    May I share with you briefly what I believe about God’s love for us?

  12. ____ fact-finding, idea structuring:
    The research clearly leaves us with a set of significant facts--and then a few doubts.

  13. ____ coordination, channeling, planning:
    We’ve done our part; now, let’s pass it along to the Grounds Team.

  14. ____ negotiation, bargaining, compromising:
    Of the two final options, can we move toward one we all support?

  15. ____ evaluating programs/performance:
    On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give our outreach/evangelism program a 7 for concept but only a 3 for participation/results.

  16. ____ training/skill development:
    Here’s how we do this now; don’t make any changes until we look together at improvements.

  17. ____ business contracting:
    We accept your proposal just as it is in your 5/20/06 letter.

  18. ____ influencing, motivating:
    The way you lead your team is a model for all of us to follow. Keep up the good work.

  19. ____ delegating, assigning:
    Finish the staff retreat plan for our review on Monday (5/26).

  20. ____ enlisting, orienting:
    Would you please help me for the next six months with the worship evaluation/planning group?

  21. ____ decision-making:
    Before we decide, survey your departments for their level of support.

  22. ____ staff meetings:
    Our meeting will be about one and one-half hours, and we have collected six items for the agenda before you.

  23. ____ team meetings:
    Our job for the next three days is to feed about 1,000 daily in the Jackson, Tennessee, storm area. Pass this along to your team volunteers.

  24. ____ correcting, disciplining:
    We must find a way never to leave the children unattended; help me with this.

  25. ____ other, with your task list.
    Praising, honoring, celebrating, etc.

For Reflection/Assessment/Application

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© 2006; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership