3 No-Nonsense Steps For Communicating With Clarity


Whichever direction you want your pastoral search to move toward, it is of the utmost importance to make sure that direction is clear. Communication is one of the most useful yet underused practices in today’s hectic, convoluted world. Playright and critic George Bernard Shaw is quoted in Marlene Caroselli’s book, Leadership Skills for Managers: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.

We will always have a limited scope of the understanding capability of others. That being said, we cannot assume our point has been communicated by stating it only in the way that makes the most sense for us. This means you may be missing the opportunity to reach your audience by simply being unclear with your words, resulting in unneeded confusion in your pastoral search process.

In the future, consider these steps for shaping a message to be the most clarity:

1. Decide what needs to be communicated.

Take some time to think through what needs to be communicated and why. What is the aim of the message? It is imperative to determine your intentions of a pastoral search before spending any time articulating your thoughts. A simple strategy is to write your entire message in its entirety on paper and simplify it until only the most important pieces are present in your message. This will help you narrow down on words and any misleading phrases. For more insight, check out our post on the 5 Common Pitfalls Of Pastoral Search Committees.

2. Carefully shape the words you are going to communicate.

Always remember: less is more. How can you communicate the critical elements of your message in the least amount of words? It doesn’t matter if you are communicating in writing or speech, this practice will increase understanding of a concept and build a strong, unified goal to follow throughout your search process. You will start to notice that the time put into creating a more streamlined message will pay off in the form of less time spent explaining yourself. The general rule of thumb is: the more clean, clear, and concise, the better chance your message will be understood and remembered. Some advice I’ve personally received is when you’re specifically working with less time to communicate, its crucial to invest more time into shaping the words carefully. Language matters.

3. Reinforce organizational clarity.

If communicating pastoral search change or directive, use these three methods of making your message have the greatest sticking power:

Cascading Messages

Author and organizational consultant Patrick Lencioni speaks passionately about the importance of cascading messages in effective organizations. This concept can be put into practice by communicating in stages – first to the key leaders, then from the key leaders to their direct understudies. Essentially, the message repeats itself until it is fully heard (and understood) by the audience. This could come in handy in the process of communicating to your church staff.

Multiple Mediums

Depending on the person, they may react to information in different ways. Make sure to use a variety of mediums that will appeal to any type of viewer. These can be written, audible, or even graphic.


Don’t be afraid to repeat the same message again and again. And again.

Communication is key in any situation (especially pastoral searches) and will pay off if used correctly. Sometimes the difference between an agreement and a disagreement is simply the way something is presented!

How could you apply these tips to your current communication skills?

If you liked this, you will also enjoy How To Develop & Implement Change On Your Church Staff