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  • Writer's pictureDr. Neal Nybo

Church communication according to Tesla

I think Elon Musk is one of the most hopeful people for the future of the world. He thinks in ways others should. Just look at his electric car! Musk wrote an email to his entire company recently about communication within the Tesla organization. Here is a link to his original article. I have plagiarized and edited his email for use in the church. I humbly share it with you here.

There are two schools of thought about how information should flow within churches. By far the most common way is chain of command, which means that you always flow communication through your manager.

The problem with this approach is that, while it serves to do things “decently and in order”, it fails to truly serve the church.

Instead of a problem getting solved quickly, where a person in one department or ministry talks to a person in another and makes the right thing happen, people are forced to talk to their manager who talks to their manager who talks to the manager or elder in the other ministry who talks to someone on his/her team. Then the info has to flow back the other way again. This is incredibly dumb. Any manager who allows this to happen, let alone encourages it, should soon find themselves working at another organization. No kidding.

Anyone at our church can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company. You can talk to your manager's manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a pastor or elder in another ministry, you can talk to anyone without anyone else's permission. Moreover, you should consider yourself obligated to do so until the right thing happens. The point here is not random chitchat, but rather ensuring that we execute ultra-fast and well.

One final point is that managers should work hard to ensure that they are not creating silos within the church that create an us vs. them mentality or impede communication in any way. This is unfortunately a natural tendency and needs to be actively fought.

How can it possibly help a church for departments or ministries to erect barriers between themselves or see their success as relative within the church instead of collective? We are all in the same boat. Always view yourself as working for the good of the church and never your department or ministry.

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