Confusion in Communication Strategies

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At a council meeting, we were talking about communicating a particular concern and decision to the congregation. That’s where it began. The ones who were dealing with the youth suggested that we put in on facebook. The ones with email thought that was adequate. The luddites suggested that the mailslots in the church were adequate. Everyone agreed that just putting it in the bulletin was inadequate: it is never read well enough.

It made me wonder about social networks, age specific communication and how I may have to develop new strategies for communication. What I observe is in my situation is that each method of communication is now fraught with limitations.

There was a time when you called, everyone on the party-line would hear. Now we are likely to get an answering machine.

There was a time when people read the bulletin from beginning to end. Now I hear that no one really reads the bulletin…except for the church family/prayer news.

There was a time when those who had email read it every day. Now some only read it once a week, facebook and text messaging are more in favour.

It makes me wonder. What communication strategy works and how much time is it going to take?

And that lead to another thought. We all agree that communication is important. But all too often what is communicated is not heard. Why is it that all the responsibility for communicating is put onto the one with the message and not the people who hear the message?

So often, written communications are not read. Phone calls not returned. Emails ignored. This is not just misreading or forgetfulness. It seems to me one covenant obligation we need to nurture is the obligation to listen well.

Maybe we need to make clear our expectations as elders and members in the business of communication: it is a covenant. Each side needs to make a promise. It is the way we live in community.

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This lament seems so familiar. My students tell me they can't socialize any more because they are too busy text messaging. Real communication seems harder to achieve with the passing years, not easier. We can Instant Message - but what message is heard?

I think this is not a small question, not at all, so thanks for bringing it up. How can we, who love the Lord and love his Word, communicate that love in this world? Here we are right now, sharing our thoughts across the miles through a blog. I think that's good, and it helps our church stay relevant to the times. But I don't yet think this medium is great at really bringing the message. Anybody have another view? What am I missing?