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Office Hours: Communication Systems & Leadership Styles

Office Hours: Communication Systems & Leadership Styles

September 19, 2012 by

Every week I hold online office hours and answer questions from folks like you. This week we’ve got a question about marketing budgets and bulletin advertising. Take a look and be sure to join me every Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. CDT for online office hours!

I need help cutting through clutter in a medium sized church with no functional communication system.

My Response:

Hey there. I can understand the frustration! Having a growing church with no communication system is like having a Corvette with no engine. It looks nice, but lacks the “oomph” needed to make things really hum.

The best advice I can give to you is to walk through the Organizational Communications Pyramid.

Walking through this will at least give you a starting point. Getting senior leadership on board, somehow, is a critical path to success here. If that buy-in isn’t there, it most likely won’t be unless/until disaster strikes.

It can be very frustrating to establish a communications system. It’s hard, painstaking work. But the result? Speaking from experience, you’ll go farther, faster. Ultimately, you’ll be more effective in accomplishing your purpose as a church. Isn’t that what we’re all here for?

What shifts need to take place in order to move beyond a “Leader to Tribe Member” style of communicating to more of a “Tribe Member to Tribe Member” or “Tribe Member to Outsider” style?

My Response:

To answer your question plainly: Many shifts.

The “Leader to Tribe Member” relationship is one that has been in place for centuries in the church. It says, “We, as Leaders, will make decisions for the Tribe Members. We control the means to do so. We are in charge.” It pervades every social organization that you and I are familiar with. It’s not a bad thing, either. It just “is.”

The beauty of the Christian church is that we all have a part to play. Jesus, as servant, shows us the true model of leadership. Not over, but under. It’s the priesthood of all believers and leaders need to show the way.

Until a leader becomes “one of us,” it’s nearly impossible to make the transition to either of the styles you mentioned. My best advice? Leaders: Get in the trenches.


Thanks for the great questions everybody! Hopefully this information will help you get from where you are to where you want to go. See you next time in the office!

Post By:

Justin Wise


Justin Wise lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife and son. He likes coffee, reading, running and blogging.
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One Response to “Office Hours: Communication Systems & Leadership Styles”

  • Scott Asai
    September 27, 2012

    That’s the thing is most of the time there’s a communication breakdown because there is no system or chain of command. It does start at the top and quite frankly most pastors don’t have the skill set to lead. If you’re frustrated with the lack of communication at your church, start by looking at the top. Usually that’s the root of the problem. From there maybe a COO type role can be implemented?



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