When I first started into ministry I figured that if I communicated something once or twice that people should get it, retain it and apply it. That is how education works, right? Over time I have seen that assumption is not valid at all. People need to hear something over and over again before it really becomes a part of their thinking. Not only do they need to hear it for it to become a part of their thinking, they need to act on it or involve themselves in it in order to really grasp a concept or be changed by an idea (that’s called application).
Some of the most important things we need to communicate seem obvious to insiders. When something seems incredibly basic and obvious you feel little need to explain it. But what is obvious and basic to you may not be to everyone. If you have been in church for a lengthy period of time there are some things that just seem obvious. The temptation is to rarely come back to those basic concepts and principles because we figure everyone already gets it.
It pays to go back and restate the obvious from time to time. Maybe there is a ministry in your church that everyone knew why it was started 10-20 years ago but now people really don’t understand it. Communicate the obvious. Or how about some of the things we do in worship…we can assume people know why we do those things, but do they? Restate the obvious…because for some people it will be the first time they hear it or else they have heard it before but never retained it. We should never fear simplicity. We should never slack on communication. If we are going to err, err on the side of communicating the most important things too often. In our rush to move on to more advanced things it is easy to leave people behind.
Last, it is important that we move beyond the basics too. We just have to have balance.
One way you know it is time to explain something is when people start asking questions about it. Another way to know is the look on people’s faces when you say or do certain things. Is it obvious that they get it? Do they even understand the language we are using? Are the practices and ministries of the church being communicated well in how and why we do what we do? What are some things you think need to be explained from time to time?