October 16, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Communicating

(Writer’s Note: Each week, I send an e-mail to the pastors of the Troup Baptist Association entitled:  “An Encouraging Word for Pastors.”  I thought you might find some value in the one I sent last Friday entitled: Communicating.)

Brother-Aaron-236x300“The difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between a lightning bolt and a lightning bug.” – Mark Twain

As preachers, teachers, pastors, and communicators, one of the greatest opportunities we have to effect change in the life of our listeners or congregants, is in learning to use the right word or  phrase to communicate vision and purpose in such a way that others want to help us achieve it, not just for us, but for themselves as well.

Leadership depends, first, upon communication. As leaders, if we cannot share our vision – it won’t happen. Therefore, we must learn to use the “the raw material of language” to paint mental pictures for our listeners.

These pictures must be beautiful and appealing. This is why using the right word or phrase is so important.

To do this, we must not just “paint” these “verbal portraits;” we must make them “come alive.” As children, my next to oldest brother Frank and my oldest son Jonathan, both shared a trait that just thrilled their sisters.

My sister Judy and my daughters Heather and Stephanie, would beg their brothers to “play dolls” with them. The reason they loved this so much is because both boys were extremely gifted at giving the dolls voices, animation, and making them “come alive!”  They made the experience real!

As pastors, leaders, and communicators, we should be painting such a beautiful mental picture of “how the world can be” that our listeners and congregants want to experience that world.

Naturally, we realize that the “content” of the message we are communicating is the most important thing. However, I’m convinced that “how” we communicate the message determines whether or not it is heard.

Jesus was “The Master Communicator.” He communicated by using words, terms, phrases, and parables (Word portraits) that the people could visualize and understand!

Years ago, while sitting in a Greek class at seminary the professor asked, “If you want to communicate with somebody in America, what language do you speak?” My hand shot up like a kindergartener. I was thinking, “Ooooh! Pick me. Pick me. I know!” And he did. And I then blurted out my answer, “English!”

To which he responded, “Wrong!”  “Listen to how I phrased the question,” he said. “If you want to “COMMUNICATE” with somebody who lives in America what language do you speak?” He expounded, “English is the common language “OF” the people. However, if you want to communicate with somebody, you must learn to speak the language that is common “TO” the people.”

I learned two things in Greek class that day.  1:  It’s hard to learn a foreign language if you don’t know English grammar. 2:  To be an effective pastor, leader, or communicator, it is paramount to speak the language that is common “TO” the people.

So, what’s my Encouraging Word to you today? This Sunday, using “the raw material of language” and speaking a language that is common “TO” your people, paint such a beautiful picture of Jesus and “how the world can be” that your listeners and congregants want to experience that world.  But don’t just paint the picture – make it come alive!

In Proverbs 25:11, Solomon said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Brother Aaron

Comments

  1. I somehow don’t get this, sounds like some sort of riddle.

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