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Avoiding Confusion: Practice Putting It in Writing

Avoiding Confusion: Practice Putting It in Writing

Clear Written Communication Prevents Misunderstandings in Ministry

Nate Harney

Ministries Pastor

Peace Church

Published On:

February 21, 2024

Put It in Writing

We expect all staff to put things in writing when they are working with other staff members, board members, and volunteers in their ministry areas. We believe that simply telling people things verbally and not following up with a clear and written summary of what was said or decided can lead to confusion and uncertainty. However, when we communicate in writing, we offer maximum clarity and direction for ministry. This honors those we serve with, helps us clarify where we are going, and it honors Jesus because we lead with excellence and transparency. If we rely on only verbal communication and hope people will remember it, we risk missing crucial details and have no way of knowing what was really said. So, we commit to, “Put it in writing!” If we ever wonder, “Is this something I should put in writing?” and are on the fence about it… we will default to putting it in writing just to be sure.



Why is this so important and helpful? When things are in writing…

  • We can remember what was communicated.

  • Others have a clear record of what was said or agreed on.

  • We stop unnecessary confusion and potential conflict.

  • There are clear and recorded lines of responsibility.

  • All parties get clarity and if one person has the wrong idea about what was communicated, this clears things up or invites the parties to talk and make sure they are tracking together. Once there is clarity, we put that in writing too.



What can happen if we don’t do this? When things are not in writing…

  • We think our communication was clear, but the other person (or the group) might have heard something entirely different.

  • We simply forget what we said.

  • The other person forgets what was said.

  • Important details get forgotten (and every detail in a church context can impact a person who is loved by Jesus).



What can I do to get started?

  • Be as brief as possible while communicating with precision and clarity. So don’t write a long message when you can simply send: “I look forward to meeting in my office next Tuesday at 1 pm.”

  • Use the form of communication that is most common and comfortable for that person or group (Text message, e-mail, social media post…)

  • Ask for a response. Suppose you chat with a committed ministry volunteer in the hallway after church, and they say they want to help with Kids Ministry at the 9:00 service next Sunday. You might follow up with a text: Thanks for your willingness to serve in the 3rd grade class this next Sunday at 9:00. I love your heart for kids. I’ll follow up with the details soon. Please send me a thumbs up if you are all good for Sunday.

  • When someone you serve with (staff, board members, church volunteers, anyone) sends you a communication clarifying a meeting time, the commitment you made, or any ministry detail, always respond quickly and clearly. (Even a thumbs-up icon, a “Got it!” or “Thanks,” will work).


Putting things in writing can seem unnecessary to some. Others might think that it is a waste of time. The truth is, that you will spend a lot more time and energy cleaning up the messes that come from unclear communication or assumptions made after a verbal conversation. Let’s all commit to using the simple tools of text messages, email, and other ways to put things in writing so we can serve Jesus and His Church in the most effective ways.

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