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Team Communication

By Dan Vis
July 08, 2019
Comments: 4

This week we're sharing another "classic" FAST memo, from the early days of our ministry. It deals with the importance of healthy small group communication, and how to cultivate it. It is updated from one of the earliest versions of Team Tactics, going all the way back to the year 2000.

Good communication is central to a healthy and successful team. Most team interactions, in fact, involve communication--whether you are discussing a lesson, checking up on each other’s verses, making decisions as a group, or praying conversationally. When that communication is effective--the team will be beneficial. Where it is not, the team will suffer. To strengthen your team, take a careful look at the communication patterns that take place in your group--and work at improving them.

“To strengthen your team, take a careful look at the communication patterns that take place in your group--and work at improving them.”

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Listed below, you will find a number of positive and negative communication styles--which are either a blessing or curse to a team. As you read through these lists, evaluate your own participation in the team. Which roles do you most often use? Are there additional positive communication styles you need to cultivate? And what about the negative roles--do you, on occasion, employ any of these? What can you do to eliminate those patterns?

And what about the other members of the team? Who consistently demonstrates each of the positive styles? How can you encourage them to continue in this? Are there team members who consistently manifest one or more of the negative communication roles? What are some tactful ways to help discourage this going forward? These questions deserve careful and sustained attention.

Most people tend to engage in just a handful of these communication roles, depending on their personality and background. But communication skills can change. By expanding the positive roles we use, and avoiding the negative ones, we will become an increasingly valuable member of our team.


Listed below are 9 communication roles that contribute to a successful team. Do your best to encourage and cultivate these.

B    Initiator: An initiator proposes new ideas or approaches to various situations, thus starting a team down a productive, problem-solving path.
L Contributor: A contributor tries to provide information, suggestions, or supplemental resources that may be useful to a team.
E Questioner: A questioner asks probing questions to tease out insights and clarifications that help the team explore topics from different angles.
S Evaluator: An evaluator attempts to evaluate the merits of a suggestion or plan the team is considering, summing up what has been stated thus far.
S Encourager: An encourager expresses appreciation for, and affirms the value of, contributions by team members, and invites more participation, particularly from quiet members.
I Challenger: A challenger exhorts the group, or an individual, to strive to reach their very best, and not settle for something less.
N Recorder: A recorder keeps track of ideas and decisions made by the team, and reminds the team of these things when appropriate.
G Expediter: An expediter tries to keep the team moving forward, and on course, especially when the team gets side-tracked or distracted.
S Prompter: A prompter shares a relevant verse of Scripture to either confirm or call into question some idea, plan, or practice of the team.


Here are six roles that hinder effective communication in a team. These should be avoided and discouraged.

C    Aggressor: An aggressor speaks negatively of another person on the team, or expresses hostility towards that member in some way.
U Blocker: A blocker tends to resist suggestions or plans put forward by the team, and manifests a stubborn, withdrawn, or negative attitude.
R Distractor: A distractor is often carrying on quiet side conversations, drawing the attention of others away from the main communication taking place in the group.
S Dominator: A dominator tries to manipulate group communication, by suppressing certain contributions or attempting to control the flow of conversation. Team leaders especially need to guard against this.
E Talker: A talker is one that talks excessively, frequently getting the team off task, or bringing up unrelated and irrelevant issues.
S Non-talker: The non-talker remains silent most of the time, contributing very little to the team, and its discussion.

Don't just count on the team leader to facilitate positive communication--it must be a shared effort. Every member of your group must work together to make the communication of your team as profitable and productive as possible. A team that does this will be well on its way to experiencing the kind of fellowship God wants for every team. The kind that leads to real life transformation.

“Don't just count on the team leader to facilitate positive communication-every member of your group must work together to make the communication of your team as profitable and productive as possible.”

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Communication styles are not changed overnight, but with patience and effort a team can develop a positive, healthy atmosphere that is conducive to rapid spiritual growth. Press on!

Take the Next Step

Want to learn more about building discipleship teams in your local church? Try this month's featured class from FAST called The Explosion Blueprint. Discover secrets to the explosive growth of the New Testament church, and a step by step strategy to implement them today.

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How important is good communication in building a team? Which of these communication roles do you find yourself using most often? Are there specific roles you need to guard against? Or perhaps cultivate and develop? Share your thoughts in the comments below...

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Posted by Dan Vis on 07/09/19
You are very welcome Carla. It's our pleasure to serve. Hopefully one day you'll be able to join our LAB, either as a partner, or through your church become a training center! :)
Posted by Carla Phillips on 07/09/19
Love this pastor Dan, thank you for all you do, I am not a lab member , but do read your notes. Thankful for a app like this. Carlal
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/08/19
Glad to hear you are part of a successful team, and that you are able to discern one of the roles you play in your team Carole! Perhaps one day you can share this article with your group, and spend a bit of time discussing how to improve group interactions. Like you say, every group is a "work in progress". Always climbing higher...
Posted by Carole Bliss on 07/08/19
I am part of a team. We have been together for eight years. Praise God!
I am a expedite. I feel I have to keep the talkers on the same track. When the conversation goes off to far, I am concerned we won't cover what is needed,, and we will take too much time in one area. These are beautiful God loving people. We are a work in progress. We all love each other and God is blessing us.
Thank you

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