Respectful Communication Guidelines

At one of the Together in Mission sessions that was offered by the synod last Saturday, we learned about how to handle conflict in congregations.  One of the ways that we learned to best address conflict was to address the way we communicate in our communities, so that negative feelings and assumptions don’t lead to frustrations and reactions that create more conflict.  Learning how to communicate and listen in a respectful way is one of the hidden lessons that can help you in life, but it is not taught in any class and many people never learn.  The GM Synod shares their recommendation for Respectful Communication Guidelines through a practice developed by the Kaleidoscope Institute HERE. The Kaleidoscope Institute compares this learning to a Driver’s Test.  We need to take a test in order to be approved to drive a car, so that people know we can drive a car without creating harm, but we don’t take any tests to show we know how to communicate with others without creating harm. 

Churches that create cultures that model care and respect in communication, can lead to greater care and respect in other relationships as well, among families, friends, coworkers, and strangers.  Learning better practices and behaviors allows us to share with the world our best selves and model and witness to a way of treating others the way we would like to be treated. 

When I talk about Sharing Lessons for 21st Century Discipleship, these are the types of lessons that I will be teaching and inviting First Lutheran to practice, so that we are better able to practice what we preach in our community and in the world.  When we are able to learn new behaviors that represent the values of Jesus’ kingdom we are better able to invite others into that way of seeing, hearing and being in the world. 

Respectful communication and listening is one of the first ways of improving our culture and reducing conflicts in our communities.  Take a look at the practices in the link and think about whether you use them in your communication.  Does anyone you know seem to use them? 

There are many ways to guide our conversations at First, and it may take us some time to find the right fit, but I’ll be sharing the Synod’s recommendation for Respectful Communication Guidelines with the Church Council and Mission Planning Team as a starting point as we begin our important work together in this new church year.