Communication. It is a thing that is highly overrated in the Church. We have launched pastors and speakers to celebrity status in the Church without much of a blink of an eye because they have the ability to say things that make us think in a way that forces us to change our lives. The rub is that these people are probably awesome followers of Christ, but we would never know it because all we do is critique their speaking style, judge the uh's and um's of their latest message, and book them for every single possible day that they are available to come and speak to us.
What is so frustrating for me is the notion that this is what makes a good pastor or follower of Christ. If you want to excel in the Church or your church, you need to be able to speak in front of large groups and effectively communicate God's Word to people. This is such a fallacy!
What's even more frustrating is that everyone in the Church has an opinion. When you ask someone, "How did church go on Sunday?" What's the first thing that is usually the comment? "Oh, it was a great sermon!" Or, if the associate pastor spoke that you don't usually like, "Well, it was Pastor Rich, so I didn't connect very well with the message." We get so caught up in the message and style of the message that we forget that GOD'S TRYING TO COMMUNICATE SOMETHING TO US!
Don't get me wrong, as a communicator, I have many moments where I start assessing and making mental notes of how "I would have done it." It can get overwhelming when I can't get my critical mind off of the format and onto the message. But the fact still remains that I find myself needing to be less critical of the speaker and more critical of the message.
This week, our SOAR Class for 2010 worked through the Communicator's Workshop. It was funny to see how they struggled, at times, to offer as many pieces of positive reinforcement and encouragement as they had critical concerns on delivery, content and intonation. I think that it goes to show, that as we look to follow after Christ, we have to recognize two things:
1) God didn't, God doesn't, God won't call EVERYONE to be speakers, communicators or prophets. It doesn't happen. Paul relays this message in 1 Corinthians 12 and challenges us to think about how we are gifted. Where do we fit?
2) Our desire should be to follow Christ, not just speak for Him. This is one that I wrestle with often. My sinful nature takes hold and wants to play to my desire to be great and to be able to be recognized by many. I want to glorify Him! But the only way to do that is to imitate Him; take from His example; Be a proctor of His Love.
May we learn what it means to be hearer's of God's Word and not assessors of those who are sharing it so that we may come to follow Him better, every day.
*I deeply respect Louie Giglio and did not use his picture as an example of bad communication. :)