Are We Really Saying What We Want to Say?
Imagine that you are sitting at your desk in an office job, while your boss is giving a new team member the office tour. As he comes to each desk, he spends several minutes regaling the new hire with the accomplishments of your co-workers, sharing how valuable they are to the organization. But when he gets to your desk, he merely identifies you by name (mauling it in the process) and says, “He’s been here a year or so,” (you’ve been there three and a half) before moving along.
Can you feel that icky sinking feeling in your stomach? If it was me, I’d be updating my resume, and my boss wouldn’t have the first clue why.
That situation is called a micro-inequity. A micro-inequity is defined as a subtle message, sometimes subconscious, that devalues, discourages and ultimately impairs performance in the workplace. These messages can take the shape of looks, gestures or even tones. The cumulative effect of microinequties often leads to damaged self-esteem and, eventually, withdrawal from co-workers in the office.
Do some people in your congregation always wonder why visitors don’t come back? Or, have you ever been at church and looked around for someone, noticed they were gone, and no one really knew why? They’ve been visiting with you for a few weeks, maybe more, and then they just vanish. Or, maybe you’re in a meeting, or in a Monday Night for the Master gathering, and the question comes up: “Has anyone seen <insert name here> lately?” They just stopped coming.
I think the micro-messages sent by our assemblies might be one of the culprits we’re looking for. We DO communicate more than what we intend. We’ve heard many times that most of communication is non-verbal, but do we apply that truth to our corporate communications?
Congregations who worship according to the Five-Acts Model might be particularly susceptible to pushing people away with micro-messages; believing that your only audience is God does not lend itself to concerns like micro-inequities. Mutual Edification might not be any better though; so much bitterness from the splits that so often give birth to ME groups lingers in the atmosphere for years.
In fact, I wonder if our method of addressing problems is capable of addressing our failures at the level of micro-messages. Something tells me that micro-messages, positive AND negative both, come mostly from our hearts, not our minds. Until we surrender to God and let Him begin the transformation of our inner self, we will be ham-handedly trying to fix problems we really don’t understand.
We will be like the man in the recent TV commercial: This middle-aged guy sits in a chair pushed back from the kitchen table. His shirt is off and he has a steak knife in one hand. The other hand holds a phone to his ear, through which a surgeon is giving him detailed instructions on how to remove his own appendix. The man looks very nervous as he says, “Shouldn’t you be doing this?”
He is wiser than most of us; we think God gave us instructions from far away and all the work is ours to do.
So, what do you think? Is YOUR assembly really saying what God wants it to say?
in HIS love,