Bible School
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!


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 Laurie Wissink on 11/20/23 - Coach
I've enjoyed your conversational style here in our community Rebecca. Encourager! :)
Posted by Rebecca Gottfried on 11/19/23 - Coach
I like to encourage the downtrodden as my conversational pattern, and if I feel particularly feisty about an issue I like to be a challenger. I’ve enjoyed experiences of being a prompter more often since getting involved with FAST again.

We have had some aggressors in our church, and I used to try to argue with them, but I realized without the Spirit’s help (Isaiah 30:1Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:) that’s a waste of time. I believe if anyone is showing negative communication patterns (like I know the 12 disciples did many times) God can give us wisdom to give them the best opportunity to learn better ways… I know God wants our churches and ministries to prosper so I believe He will show us the way the we should go when we are stuck in difficulties like these with disgruntled members that have learned negative communication patterns (Psalms 143:8Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.).
Posted by Dan Vis on 05/25/23 - Coach
Thanks for the encouragement to turn to God for help when we notice these destructive patterns Margaret. These can be tough situations. This actually came from one of the lessons early on in FAST (the very first predecessor of Revival Keys, called the Multiplication Pack). Sometimes addressing this topic as a study and to try and get everyone on board with good small group dynamics can be helpful. I miss this being in the lessons...
Posted by Margaret S. Po’oi on 05/25/23
In my Sabbath School class, I have a person that was a distractor, dominator, & talker. I prayed earnestly for God to show me how to deal with him. God answered. There has been marked change. It really takes full dependence on the Lord to get through tough situations. This one was threatening to undo the class. At the same time, if I said the wrong things, it could do harm to this person. There has to be a balance and the balance comes from God.
We do our part and God will do the rest.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/25/22 - Coach
In my experience Deanne, you do a great job at those positive roles for sure. And thanks for emphasizing the importance of listening. That's another huge topic. Appreciate you mentioning it. :)
Posted by Deanne Reinke on 12/23/22
I believe communication is VERY IMPORTANT to success in ANY endeavor!! I am always telling myself not to be a dominator or a distractor. I hope I am an encourager and a contributor and an initiator. These are roles that I have intentionally tried to cultivate in myself over the years. Also, through the years I have worked hard at LISTENING! so often someone says something that sparks a thought & I want to hurry up and speak it before I forget it. BUT I have to hold myself in check and not interrrupt or speak too much of my ideas--LISTEN to what others are saying. not concentrating on what I want to say next. God is still helping to improve in these areas.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/19/22 - Coach
You are very welcome Teverly. I'm sure we all exhibit some of the roles in each list at times. But being aware of our strengths and weakness, can help us be a more effective team member...
Posted by Tev Gray on 12/15/22
This is very thought provoking! I see myself in both positive & negative roles. I will need to be deliberate in making some changes, as I embrace the person God wants me to be.
Thank you Pastor Dan for this article.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/08/22 - Coach
You're very welcome Carlota. So important to train every team members so we can all put our shoulder to the wheel, so to speak--and make our teams the very best they can be.
Posted by Carlota Belmo on 12/08/22
The name says it, team communication, all need to participate and be on the same page. In order to meet the requirements and goals we must aware of what we’re trying to accomplish. Thanks for this reading.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/04/22 - Coach
Right, Louise. We must encourage our team to see it as a shared responsibility. That means going over information like this as a team together at times.

Amen! Those are all great qualities Wayne. Your church is very blessed to have you.
Posted by Wayne Senner on 12/04/22
As a sabbath school teacher the guidance of the Holy Spirit and memorized bible verses have been my gifts. As a deacon my strong point has been reliability. But communication is very important for both.
Posted by Louise P on 12/04/22
Facilitating positive communication must be a shared effort, with every member working to make communication as profitable and productive as possible. So true!
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/09/19 - Coach
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 - Coach
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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