The Understanding Enigma.
"Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." - Ephesians 4:15
The World is a big place! We often get fooled into thinking it's getting smaller and smaller because people are getting more accessible by means of digital communication. I love being abroad and being able to pick up my phone and call or FaceTime my family and having it cost virtually nothing, not mention being convenient (most of the time!). As I meet all kinds of people in difference places, I discover that even though it's easy to get in 'contact' with someone, it doesn't mean that we completely understand each other when it comes to time to communicate! This is an everyday consideration for me now that I have relocated to a different country.
We could be speaking (or attempting) the exact same language, but so much of what we are meaning to communicate gets lost in translation or stuck in someone else's 'filter' which is shaped by their worldview, past experiences, hurts, failures and of course victories. If you've studied communication they call this "Noise". When transmitting a message, you can't just simply put it out there and expect that it has been received in the manner that was intended by the transmitter. It's so vital for us as leaders to seek feedback (verbal or non-verbal) about whether what we are communicating is being not just received, but received in the way we are intending it to be.
OH! The amount of painful situations, awkward moments and wounded relationships I could have saved if I had just been more intentional about making sure that I wasn't just taking care of WHAT I needed to communicate but also taking the extra care to make sure that HOW it was communicated was helpful and not destructive.
I will never forget the look in his eyes and to this day I still carry regret when I think about how differently it could have been! An awesome young teenager (lets call him "Johnny") with such a soft heart towards God, enthusiasm for this new found life of his and even a level of respect towards me as his youth pastor. We had a special connection because I had done some serious time with his family. This, in his eyes was a miracle - that anyone would give up their time to love his messed up, angry, dysfunctional family. For some years, coming around the house when no one else would, talking to his volatile Dad and mediating in the family when things often went pear shaped.
There came a time when Johnny discovered (like many teens do) the lure of "the crowd" and his new expression of adolescent freedoms. As a well meaning and digitally connected youth pastor, some posts from Johnny had popped in my Facebook feed which were confronting to say the least. With all the heartache, mixed with genuine protective pastoral motives I wasted no time hauling young Johnny in to my office and giving him a peace of my mind. Pouring out my disappointment and disapproval of his actions in what I thought was protecting him and warning him against was actually crushed him.
In that moment, my lack of patience and diligence to seek first understanding placed me in a category that was the worst of worst places for me to be...the same as his Dad. Ignorant, selfish, angry and accusing! Johnny was never the same after that conversation, he never fully recovered and returned to the youth ministry. Totally lost.
A good friend and colleague of mine who's father is a renowned psychologist in Australia shared a communication key with me one day that has never left me nor failed me. Whenever communicating any message, especially sensitive or settling a conflict you always want to pursue a CURE!
We can never assume that when we are leading people, that whatever has been said has been understood! The more crucial the message, the greater the need to first connect with the individual. Then take into consideration their position/situation and make sure they understand WHY we have delivered what we needed to. ALWAYS make sure you check if they have understood you, not just WHAT you needed to communicate. A most importantly, remember that the 'HOW' (your method) needs empower them rather tan push them away! In everything we do, the answer is always Love! To be like Christ we need to speak the the TRUTH in LOVE.
On the 3rd of June we have the first EVER Lift leaders Summit with Ps Sunjay Stevenson from Mumbai India. Sunjay is a world class communicator and we know you'll blessed by his ministry. The event is FREE but you must register to secure your spot. Head to www.liftleaders.com today to secure your seat today!
Some praise and prayer points I'd like to share with you:
- God answered our prayers! We got given a car!
- We are getting great feedback from our ministry appointments (Testimonies to come)
- Our Lift Leaders team is growing
- Joel's immigration visa application to be approved quickly (for ministry work in Denmark)
- Resources for Lift Leaders
- Health, Protection and provision for the family
- A powerful Lift Leaders Summit
If you want stay in touch and see the ministry adventures as they unfold you can follow us on social media:
Instagram - joelbagnall OR liftleaders
Twitter - joelbags OR Liftlead
Facebook - Joel Bagnall