Communication Guidelines for Church Planting Teams

Healthy communication among church planting team members is vital to the effective starting of a new church.

Last year, my OC-US team in Seattle developed some important Guidelines for Communication that we adopted to improve our interactions as a team. We’ve posted them on the top of all our team agendas and we read through this list at the beginning of our team meetings. Here are 5 Benefits of creating communication guidelines and reviewing them frequently:

  1. We all are reminded to “own” responsibility for good, healthy communication.
  2. We are encouraged to work harder to seek to understand each other.
  3. We see the value of keeping short accounts with one another.
  4. Nobody should leave our gatherings feeling misunderstood.
  5. Everyone is invited to share their thoughts, feelings and perspective.

Guidelines for Conversations
This is a living list to be revisited occasionally.

  1. Everyone addresses issues as they arise.
  2. Clarify status of conversations especially when we have to end the conversation.
    • Time is not boundary to understanding.
    • End each conversation with a statement of current position or condition by everyone present.
  3. All stay actively engaged in team wide conversations.
  4. Overclarification is embraced by all.
  5. Work hard to understand the other person first.
    • Actively listen
    • Use “Help me understand”
    • Summarize, paraphrase, “mirror back”
  6. Address offenses affecting team communication
    • Point out offenses.
    • Acknowledge the offense.
    • Make apology.
    • Ask for forgiveness.
    • Accept apology.
    • Grant forgiveness.
    • Accept forgiveness.

What do you like about this list?

What would you add or take away?

How could developing Guidelines for Conversation benefit your church planting team?


Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
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