4 Things to Improve the Communication Culture at Your Church

Cornerstone Christian Fellowship is one of the fastest growing churches in the country. It has a lot of activities for the family with a very practical, biblical message. As the Executive Pastor, Marty oversees all staff and is part of the executive team which oversees every part of the church.

Communication breakdowns are a fairly common challenge in all types of interpersonal relationships, including ministry, and can be linked back to causing most problems. Marty is talking with us today about how Cornerstone has tackled the challenge of improving the communication culture among its staff.

  • Find the problems. // The first evidence that the communication culture needed work among the staff at Cornerstone was a general sense that something wasn’t right. Marty says they did the Best Christian Workplace Survey, which is a standard 55 questions regarding the workplace, plus Cornerstone could add a few extra questions specific to them. The survey revealed some consistent themes that needed to be addressed. The biggest issue was that the staff just wasn’t talking with each other very well, both up and down, top to bottom, and side to side.
  • Examine the problem. // Not everyone may realize there is a communication issue, but if some people on the staff are saying it, it should be looked at closely. Approach it ready to listen and admit, “We have a problem, so let’s talk about it.” At Cornerstone, everyone was sent off in their divisions and asked a series of questions. The executive team wanted to know what people thought it would look like to have a healthy culture of communication from top down, between ministries, and on their own team. They also asked about some specific examples of the existing issues. After compiling the data and looking for trends, they developed a couple of focus groups among the staff.
  • Include everyone in the solution. // It can be difficult to get honest because no one wants to put themselves out there. As a result, no one on the executive team led the focus groups. An outside HR consultant was brought in, which provided a feeling of security and comfort. Staff were able to open up and share things they might not have said to Marty or other staff members. Marty knew as people felt safer being honest, it would contribute to a better communication culture – one where the staff understood the executive team really wanted to listen to them. As Cornerstone began implementing strategies to address the existing issues, Marty emphasized how important it is that the staff be a part of the solution. Everyone needed to own the steps the church as a whole was taking to improve the culture.
  • Communication reminders. // Very practically speaking, when a decision or change is made, Cornerstone now makes sure everyone who needs to hear about it does. Sometimes it’s just a matter of casting vision and helping people understand why a decision was made rather than just sharing what the decision was. The staff wants to get on board with these decisions and be a part of supporting them. Remind your staff leaders to communicate with their team. Explain that while a decision may be more impactful to a specific department, it does affect the entire church. That constant conversation and sharing with your team keeps spreading the vision and will help people feel included.

You can learn more about Cornerstone Christian Fellowship at www.cornerstoneonline.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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