How many times have you sent or received a text message today? If you’re like most people you’ve probably lost count, because it’s such a frequent occurence.
Texting has become an integral part of our communication landscape, but its use in a professional environment should be approached with caution. While it offers convenience, speed, and connects you with younger team members, texting important information may not be a good idea, especially for a ministry leader.
First, texting lacks the formality and professionalism expected in many workplaces. In professional communication, clarity is key. Text messages are often informal and may lack the proper tone, leading to misunderstandings or misinterpretations.
Second, text messages can be easily misdirected or intercepted, potentially compromising sensitive information. For example, pastors are often counseling individuals in crisis. A text message accidentally sent to the wrong person in your church could have serious consequences. In contrast, email or secure messaging platforms offer better security and documentation of conversations.
Next, texting does not reinforce the idea of accountability. Agree with it or not, there is a perception that text message exchanges are “just between us.” As a leader, you should be striving for full transparency in every area of your ministry, including how you communicate. Sending important messages via text can imply that you prefer the content to stay under the radar. Not to mention, these micro messages are just plain difficult to track later, which is never helpful.
And last but not least, the brevity of text messages limits the ability to convey complex ideas or engage in meaningful discussions. In-person meetings or phone conversations always allow for better nuance and understanding. And yes, these days a video-call is a viable alternative to an in-person meeting.
In summary, sending a text in a professional environment lacks formality, clarity, accountability, and can lead to security risks. When in doubt, opt for more formal and secure communication tools, such as email, a project management app, or in-person meetings to discuss important issues.
PRO TIP: Leading a meeting well includes making sure someone is tasked with taking and distributing meeting notes.
Texting is convenient but reserve it for more casual contact with your team. For example, a text message is a great way to send an encouraging note or thought. When you model communication best practices for your team, you show them how much you care. Strong leaders communicate clearly, not just quickly.