Summary: Overcome misguided communication and preoccupation on negatives with a Spirit led concentration on what is true, good, and praise-worthy.
KEYS TO OVERCOMING COMMUNICATION BARRIERS
Romans 12:16 - Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Too many people are having problems with communicating with each other.
Example: This morning, Dec 24th, 2002, a young man and his wife boarded a plane in Cincinatti, Ohio. Just before the 33 year old man sat down he made a joke to the pilots by saying, "I hope you guys are not drinking in here." Immediately he was escorted off of the plane and the FBI was called in for his alleged disturbing behavior. It seems that people easily misunderstand harmless communication today so that many people are frightened to say much of anything to other people in our paranoid oriented society.
Quote; Most human relational problems can be traced back to poor communication. (Norm Wright)
The following are guidelines for improving our communication taken from the writing and life of the apostle Paul.
1. Concentrate - Overcome misguided preoccupation with concentration on what is true, good, and effective. Learn to help your people take notes, repeat back what you are giving them, share with others what they have learned, and occasionally test them on the key points of your message. Reward those who are concentrating so that others can see the benefits of being faithful in listening and obeying God’s word.
2.Genuine Caring and Concern - Involve your audience in a love affair with the source of good communication-Jesus Christ and His representatives. When the people know that they are loved-they will return that love to the person from whom it originated.
Example: When I fell in love with a girl whom I almost married, she gladly listened to every word I spoke. She knew that I had her best interests at heart. Without questioning, she accepted my advise because she knew that I cared not only for her as a friend but as a potential wife, a homemaker, and a possible mother to my children.
Let your congregation know how much you love them and they will in turn give you their maximum attention!
3. Identify With Your People - Share their interests, their activities, their problems, their cares, and their time. Paul communicated with the Corinthians because he became all things to all men that by all means he might win some. (I Cor. 9:22) When I spoke to youth in Los Angeles, I used surfer language, wore surfer clothing, used surfer terms, played surfer music, and discussed introductory topics that were common conversations among surfers.
All of these were bridges of identification which gained numerous points of contact with my college age audiences. I tried to meet people where they were at. Paul said, ``Weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, be of the same mind with one another.’’ (Romans 12:16)
4. Clear Away Internal and External Noise - By removing internal negative attitudes and annoying external barriers communication improves.
Ask people to conscientiously remove those barriers that inhibit them from hearing all that God has to say to them. Name specific negative attitudes like favoritism, pride, envy, or jealousy that prevent people from understanding all of God’s word.
Use yourself as an example of someone who learned how to put away childish obstacles and listen without the numerous distractions that cloud your perceptions.
5. Communicate Love and Openness - Men need to work at sharing their love, concern, and feelings for people. Women naturally are more in touch with their feelings than men. We must learn how to put away judgmental expressions and preach with joy, love, and warmth for our people.
Preaching’s effectiveness is more determined not by what we say, but by HOW WE SAY THINGS! Love will replace the need to be manipulative, coercive, and commanding. There is a big difference between talking WITH your people and talking AT YOUR PEOPLE.
When fathers and mothers learn how to communicate with their children with love and openness they will find their children responding more effectively. One Mother started listening to her children and transformed their relationship to one of trust, love, and harmony. Love is the key to overcoming external and inside noise.
6. Get Feedback - Ask your people for frequent response of what they are learning from your sermons. You can ask them to repeat back what you have given them or ask them to paraphrase what you have said. Ask them questions that call for interpretation of meanings. This gives you the chance to clarify your message. It also gives the listeners the chance to reinforce what they have heard. Furthermore, the audience feels that they have the chance to listen to smaller amounts of information.
In other words your messages will become more like normal conversation which is always more effective than 30 minute messages. Your audience will increase in their listening, retention, understanding, and applications. Challenge your people to make at least one application to every message. Give them specific examples from your life. This will teach them from life as well as from your lips.