Effective Communication and How It Helps Our Team Function
Written by Gracie Kinsey
Relationships are one of the most valuable resources that God gave us when He created the Earth and everything in it. Everyone has had some sort of relationship in their life–whether it be a relationship with God, the people in your family, your friends, your roommate, your husband or wife, or even the Dunkin’ Donuts lady who takes your breakfast order every Monday–we’ve all got them. Relationships are a constant variable in our lives, and how we act and manage those relationships affects us in a really big way. In Genesis 2:18 (NIV) God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” We are created with the innate need for people in our lives. However, certain relationships inevitably go bad and sometimes come to an end. There are many reasons why this may happen, but today I want to talk about what I believe is the key component in maintaining a relationship. Believe it or not, communication is the primary factor that keeps a relationship healthy, honest, fruitful and alive.
Being an intern with Children’s Bible Ministries, I have quickly realized how much the relationship you have with your team can affect your everyday life. Our Intern Coordinator, Jacquelyn, has given us five core values that the internship upholds, one of them being unity. According to our handbook, the definition of unity is “an attitude of love, patience and forgiveness towards others.” Ephesians 4:3 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Unity is what keeps a team connected and on the same page, which is important for ministry. By biblical definition, unity means maintaining love, patience, and forgiveness with the people in your life. We are told in 1 Corinthians 13 that true love “is patient” and “keeps no record of wrongs” (13:4-5). True unity is choosing to practice biblical love towards those who surround you. Now, might I ask, how can a team uphold all of these virtues by internalizing their struggles or concerns with each other, instead of sharing them? Bitterness, anger and selfishness start to bubble up inside of us when we don’t take time to communicate our feelings with the rest of the team.
Andy Stanley has a book, titled Enemies of The Heart, about four dangerous sins that rob us from healthy relationships. One of these sins is anger. Andy wrote in chapter two, “The people closest to you routinely catch the flak thrown off by the explosive stuff you normally work so hard to keep hidden. What’s in your heart comes out at home, where you’ve turned off the ‘safety’ and let down your defenses. That’s when the heart exposes itself in the most negative ways to the people you love most.” To summarize: “We hurt most who we love most.” We feel comfortable enough to get angry at our coworkers, but we’re not selfless enough to lovingly express our frustrations with an attitude of forgiveness. Most of the time, our heart posture says, “I deserve to be treated…” or “They owe me…” However, we are called to strive for agreement between our fellow believers. 1 Corinthians 1:10 writes, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
Unity is a wonderful thing when worked hard for and maintained. Let me emphasize the phrase “worked hard for.” Keeping peace with the people close to you is not easy! One practical piece of advice that helps teams grow closer and actually enjoy each other, is sharing praise reports with each other. Finding things to be grateful for, verbally sharing with everyone what God has been doing in your life, going out of your way to serve people on your team, and generously building them up are all ways to remove any residing bitterness inside. Having a “one-on-one” with a teammate should not always be when you have a grievance with them! Intentionally meeting with someone on your team to share with them what a positive impact they have had on your life will not only encourage and bless them, but it will actually cure any anger or frustration you may have had against them. Communicating the things that you appreciate about your team is just as vital to the growth of the team as communicating your constructive criticisms.
The last observation I want to make is one purposefully saved for the end: Our communication with the Lord makes all the difference in the conversations we have in our everyday lives. If we don’t start our day right with God, it’s hard to imagine that our day will go right with others. There will be times where you can’t bring certain complaints to your team. Not only this but, truly, we shouldn’t be going before our team with a complaint without first going before the Lord with it. Personally, this is really hard for me because my emotions often get the best of me and I can explode in anger, frustration, sadness or joy if I’m not balanced by God! “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). We can only truly find rest when we come to the Lord. Once you bring your grievance to the Lord and rest in His truth, and still feel led to say something to a team member, family member etc., we will have peace and truth backing us up. This way, things are more likely to come out “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Communication with God is key to our communications with others.
Hopefully this blog revealed to you more of the valuable parts of our relationships with other believers and how all aspects of communication are so important to keep active. Communicating to your team, good or bad, requires help and time with the Lord to be truly successful.
Gracie is a part of the CBM Internship program, which exists to encourage young people to experience missions! To learn more about the CBM Internship program click [www.childrensbibleministries.net/internships].