Archive for the ‘Communication Principles’ Category



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: ,

We’ve been using some humorous stories to illustrate communication principles we can all learn from. Communication is how we stay connected to each other. Anita spent most of last week visiting our daughter’s family in Nashville, Tennessee. I missed her but we stayed connected via telephone each day. I learned what she was doing with the grand kids, and she was learning how things were going back here in our daily calls. That communication kept us connected.

A degeneration in communication takes place when we forget what we were talking about and get sidetracked by other issues. When someone says something that offends me, I sometimes take off after that offense and forget where we were going with the communication. John Bevere calls picking up an offense the Bait of Satan. We need to refuse to pick it up. Let’s be careful with our communication this weekend.



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: ,

A couple went to Home Depot to buy some 2×4’s. The man at the store said, “We don’t have 2×4’s but we have some 4×2’s.” The husband said, “I’ll have to talk with my wife.” He came back and said, “We can use 4×2’s. We want 300.” As they started to get them, the agent asked, “How long do you want them?”

Again the husband said he would have to consult his wife. Coming back, he said, “We want them for a long time, we’re going to use them in a house we are building.”

I don’t think I’d want to see the house when they get it done. We have slang expressions for so many things these days. If I don’t know the terms for something, how can I communicate? Its like that in the church world, as well. If we want to communicate with sinners, we’ve got to use terms they can understand. Words like ‘sanctification’ and ‘justification’ mean something to us, but its a foreign language to the lost. God, help us be relevant.



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: ,

A new employee at a large company walked up to a large paper shredder and stood before it looking confused. “Need some help?”, asked the senior secretary.

“Yes, how does this thing work?” “Its simple,” she said as she took the thick report from her colleague’s hand and fed it into the shredder. “See?”

“Yes, I see,” he said, “but how many copies will it make?”

Sometimes communication starts with envisioning those who are to help us with a task. In this story, the secretary assumed she understood what the new hire wanted, but was tragically mistaken. If he had told her what he wanted to accomplish up front, then she could have helped him with his task. Envisioning others will help them help us. When a problem arises, they will then know how to fix that problem appropriately.



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: , ,

Just as the pastor was about to enter the pulpit of a small New England church, a woman in the congregation handed him a note requesting the congregation’s prayers for her husband. The note read: “Bill Adams, having gone to sea, his wife desires the congregation’s prayers for his safety.”

But the pastor was pressed for time and read the note a little too hastily, telling the congregation that, “Bill Adams, having gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety.”

Like the old game of telephone, communication breaks down when it passes through several different parties. Its always best to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. When we hear something third or fourth hand, it usually takes on the understanding of the most recent hearer, rather than the originator. Be careful what stories you pass on, they could get distorted.

Do you have a distortion story?



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: , ,

We learn to read people. After working with people for awhile, we learn to expect certain things from them. When they change, it throws us off.

An old Arkansas farmer bumped into a friend who asked what was wrong with his hogs, because they looked so poorly. The farmer replied, “When I lost my voice a year ago I could not call them to their feed, so I got a big stick and hammered on the crib and they soon learned that was a call to their corn.

“They were doing well until three weeks ago when some woodpeckers came in here and went to pounding on the old dead trees. My hogs ran in the direction of the noise, thinking it was my call to their feed. When they came running and squealing the frightened woodpeckers would fly to another dead tree and the hogs would run to that part of the woods. They have just about run my hogs to death.”

I think some Christians have about run themselves to death trying to find a new move of God over here or over there. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: ,

Another communication principle is to anticipate the response of the hearer and try to word your communication in a way that they will understand.

Dr. Sam Sasser once received this note following a meeting: “Pastor, knowing you cannot eat sugar, I am sending this box of Christmas candy to your wife and nuts to you.” Now, the sender didn’t mean to say: ‘Nuts to you!’, but that’s how it came across. Anticipating how they will receive it is part of communication.

Another minister forgot the names of the couple he was soon going to marry, so he said from the pulpit, “Will those wishing to be united in holy matrimony please come forward after the service.” After the service, thirteen old maids came forward.

How we word things is important to the hearer. Do you have another example of such miscommunication?



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: , ,

Several years ago Rev. Kim Tracy and I travelled to Manaus, Brazil, to dedicate a church building New Hope had helped to finance. We were Sunday morning guests of the mother church downtown, a mega-church of the Presbyterian variety. Kim was a musician and was getting ready for the sound check just prior to the service, which was already packed with several hundred people. He wanted more sound in his monitor, so jestered upward with his thumb to the sound man in the back. He continued to pump his thumb up and down waiting for the appropriate volume.

The missions pastor of the church shook his head and kept advising, “Don’t do that.” When Kim finally got the desired volume, he ceased his jesturing. Kim was later humiliated when we were told that the thumbs up sign in Brazilian culture is an obscene jesture, equivalent to the middle finger in America.

The communications principle in this story is to beware of your jestures. People may read more into your wink than that you are making a joke. Body language says a lot about your demeanor and what you are thinking. So, think before you yawn or fold your arms.

Got any further illustrations of body language goof-ups?