One of the life lessons that I have learned from being in ministry is that communication (even too much) is extremely important if not essential. In the lapse of information, people’s minds tend to fill the void with something negative or untruthful. Â We see an example of this in the book of Joshua.
After years of fighting together in pitched battle, traveling hundreds and hundreds of miles over rough terrain, and in the end being victorious over their enemies, Joshua’s army was ready to disband and each tribe go to their proper homes. To commemorate what God had done in their lives, and to stand as a reminder for future generations of God’s goodness, one of the tribes built a monument. This good intention set off a wave of trouble.
Joshua 22: 10-12 “And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size.Â 11Â And the people of IsraelÂ heard it said, â€œBehold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.â€Â 12Â And when the people of Israel heard of it,Â the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.”
Three Things To Remember Regarding Your Leadership and Communication
1. People (no matter what you have gone through together or for how long) Tend To Assume The Worst.
It is hard for us today to imagine how difficult traveling over the vast distances, dealing with various battle injuries, and constantly moving camp would have been for these people. In my limited experience of mission trips and serving with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, there is a tight bond of brotherhood and compradore. Â But we see from this passage that in spite of all these things and so much time spent together, with in a very short time, they were ready to go to war against them — to kill them.
Communication broke down both ways. The tribe that built the impressive memorial failed to let the other tribes know what they were doing and why. The other tribes assumed the worst, and instead of sending a delegation to investigate the matter, they put on their armor and sharpened their swords.
Knowing that Satan uses these voids of information to disrupt relationships, one of a leader’s “to dos” is to keep people informed. Â If you establish a pattern of doing this and showing your desire for others to know what is going on, trust is established and strengthened.
2. Think About How Your Actions Could be Perceived by Others.Â
No, you are not a mind reader, nor can you predict the future. But before you take an action, or too much time goes by, take some time to think about how you can tell others what you are doing. We live in the age of social media where people tell you everything that is going on in their lives (and many things they should not). Therefore, people expect to have at least a limited entry into your life and for you to tell them what is going on (if not on a daily basis).
Also, perception is 99% reality. Even if you didn’t say it, do it, or even have anything to do with it — if you are perceived as having done so, the results are the same. You have to guard people’s perceptions and the best way to do this is constant meaningful communication.
3. Get Over Yourself.
Some may see this as self-aggrandizement, as if you are pridefully drawing attention to yourself. But this is not the case. In order for others to know what’s going on, and to share the vision God has given you for your ministry, family, organization, etc. then it is necessary to share information with others. Every Facebook,Twitter, blog entry, letter, bulletin blurb, and social media entry is a way to draw others to a work that God is doing and provide them with an opportunity to be apart of it. These entries are also a way to fend off negative thoughts others may have as well.
I have had several leaders tell me over the years, “I don’t care what other people think. I am just going to focus on what God wants me to do.” This passage tells us that you should care what others think. With every piece of communication you can shape the view of your ministry.