Coping With the “Part-Time Perception” (Part 4)

Last time, we talked about the third way a pastor can shatter the ‘part-time’ stereotype without compromise.

Today, we’re going to discuss strategies that can help a bivocational minister create an atmosphere of effective communication.

No matter what stage a ministry or church is in, one of the key common denominators to effective functionality is communication.

Without communication, even the grandest of visions ultimately fade.

I mean…think about it. Without dialogue…without intentional engagement both in-church and out, it’s only a matter of time before disconnection sets in.

Perhaps some of you know what it’s like to have a God-given dream loaded with potential turn into a pumpkin without warning or what it’s like to lead a group of people plagued by disunity. While experiences vary, chances are somewhere along the way…there was a communicational breakdown.

So clearly, communication is imperative when we talk about sustaining vision and maintaining mission.

And when we talk about a church mixed with full-time and part-time staff members, it’s fair to say the challenge only increases.

Consider the open road. We would all agree when it comes to driving on the interstate, the most ideal setup is all cars moving at the same rate of speed and direction. When everyone is driving in harmony, people arrive to their destinations on time.

untitled3However, when traffic enters the picture, everything changes. Imagine a three-lane interstate with a car accident blocking the left two lanes of traffic. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this will slow things down due to bottlenecking. Suddenly, you have different lanes operating at different speeds, with cars in the far right hand lane moving fast initially, before having to slow down to allow traffic to merge from the left lanes.

It’s the same way with communication. When church leaders aren’t on the same page, when the vision isn’t being shared or communicated equally among its members, then functionality will become impaired…and a church’s effectiveness will slow down.

Let’s discuss some practical communicational strategies a bivocational minister (or any minister for that matter) can utilize.

* Listen & stay alert. Often times, information comes at us from multiple sources in multiple directions. And at times, it can be overwhelming trying to stay caught up to speed; however, if you want to become a better communicator, you must become a better listener. When you allow yourself to be the living embodiment of Matthew 11:15, you essentially increase your awareness.

* Establish a communicational pathway: Whether you work for an elder-run or pastor-led church, it’s essential to know not just how to communicate, but who to communicate to. By sticking to a set communicational roadmap, you enhance not only the communication itself, but also the accountability needed to see it through to fruition.

* Utilize multiple outlets. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Learning to use websites and social media isn’t just a good idea; it’s a must. Nowadays, there are so many apps that can be tapped into for organization. As a bivocational leader, chances are you’re exposed to resources on a regular basis that your full time counterparts can benefit from. Take a look at the communication avenues you utilize for work and in your personal life – you may just find a diamond in the rough.

*Encourage, encourage, encourage. Regardless of your name or title, there’s never a bad time to encourage. Often times, encouragement is the best means of communication. I’m all about healthy project systems and living out efficient communicational strategies, but without encouragement, you risk diluting the vision.

*Stand at the door and knock. When you’re bivocational or part-time, being persistent in seeking out the information you need and making your voice heard will go a long way. By being faithful to speak up at the right times, you allow yourself to stay connected to the vision, while also inspiring others to stay engaged.

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