If there's one truth about the role of the pastor and that of the Church Communicator, it's that we're both on the same team. Moreover, we both long to see our people worship God, learn from His Word, and apply the principles of Scripture to their lives as they become disciples and disciple-makers. So what is it that occasionally causes tension or friction between pastors and techies? Why is it often so hard for us to understand, encourage, honor, and value one another? Why do some of us butt heads like big horn sheep?
Let's be honest here: There are moments where the connection between pastors and Church Communicators is incredibly tense, awkward, and uneasy to say the least. Sometimes it's downright unhealthy. This is rarely ever intentional on the part of either person, and yet, nevertheless, the problems can still arise. Sometimes it's just a matter of the techie wishing the pastor better understood certain aspects about the role of the techie within the church and within ministry. This is sometimes our own fault for not communicating what we need — which is ironic considering that we are Church Communicators. Sometimes it's a matter of the pastor not understanding technology, which can lead to being intimidated by it. That isn't necessarily his fault and, to be candid, most pastors don't want to have their hands in the tech anyway.
Ultimately, both people need one another in order to have a strong and fruitful ministry that makes a difference in the local community. No matter which position you're in — pastor or Church Communicator — there are some things that you can do to alleviate potential issues and strive for an awesome partnership as you serve the church and advance the Kingdom of God together.
Here are a few ideas:
#1. Go to lunch or coffee together. Get to know each others' hearts.
A lot of miscommunication, tension, and frustration between individuals in ministry stems from a lack of understanding, empathy, and deeper connection. So much of this could be avoided if those who work together would just take the time to get to know one another first. Have fun, laugh, and tell stories. Discover the other person's vision, goals, and drive for ministry. Ask questions about their ministry history. Have an open mind and listen to their ideas. Who knows? You might even learn a thing or two from the other person. What's more, you might even become friends. *gasp*
#2. Affirm and thank each other.
It may sound like a cheesy cliché, but everyone needs to feel needed. We all appreciate feeling appreciated. To my fellow techies: Thank your pastor every so often for delivering an encouraging or challenging sermon. To all the pastors reading this: Thank and compliment your Comms Directors for their hard work and long hours at the screens throughout the week. This will serve to strengthen ties and bond everyone together all the more.
#3. Ask questions and seek to genuinely learn.
If there's something you need to know or want to learn about the role and territory of the other person, just ask. We can serve better, more effectively and more efficiently when we understand the functionality of each position and develop a respect for it.
#4. Admit when you're at fault.
Just do it. No Excuses.
#5. Remember that no one is perfect.
Even Jesus had trouble with His "staff." The disciples were not flawless (by any stretch of the imagination) and Christ was continually calling them to a life of holiness while simultaneously lavishing grace upon them as well. We should do the same for one another. God doesn't call us because we're perfect. He perfects us as we are called. He doesn't make choices and ministry appointments based on who people are, but rather on who they will eventually become. We should remember this as we work together with one another in the ministry environment.
#6. Build a team atmosphere together and then be an integral part of that team.
Nothing encourages unity more than bringing people together through fun activities like staff retreats, Escape Rooms, bowling nights, or hiking trips. Incorporate some creative leadership training activities into these outings and aim for trust-building, personal connection, and lots of laughs.
#7. Always have regular staff meetings.
These sessions allow for pastors and Church Comms Directors to voice things in the company of other staff members that may be easier said in a group setting or might have been forgotten in earlier one-on-one conversations. As a leader and core staff member in your church, you should be developing those under you and checking off on areas like progress, struggles, questions, and any decisions they might need you to make. Pastors and Comms Directors will work better together when they see how things are going within staff meeting settings and can make adjustments together as needed.
#8. Pray together and for one another.
Every church leader — pastors, elders, worship leaders, Comms Directors, children's ministers, etc. — all shoulder enormous weights and responsibilities every week while simultaneously juggling the burdens and duties of their personal lives. Ministry means hard days. Ministry means long hours. We need one another and we need prayer support from those on our team.
For services to run smoothly and digital media to operate efficiently and effectively, pastors and Church Communicators need to work in tandem and do all that they can to bring honor and glory to God together. We should remember that we're working for the same cause and that the strength of our relationship is the bedrock of other parts of the staff and ministry.