Every semester I begin my Moody Bible Institute Speech Class with a unit on Interpersonal Communication.
To begin with, I try to impress upon my students the importance of the topic.
They may think they know enough about relationships. They’ve had them all their lives, after all. And they’ve been “going all right.”
They may think it’s impossible to change or to grow in this regard. “I am who I am, and those habits run deep.”
Or they may think they have more important subjects to study. They may see the value of digging into Theology and theory. But “why should I give any serious thought to my nonverbal cues?”
These students, though, are training for ministry. Most are already involved in significant service.
So, to their question—why should I study “relationships”?—my answer is always this:
Ministry happens in relationship. We can’t minister to another person without using our relational tools.
And—stick with me here—because the converse is also true:
Relationships are our ministry. In fact, in every relationship we encounter—from our spouse to our roommate to the acquaintance in the cubicle across the way—in every relationship, we have the opportunity to serve. To meet needs and to encourage. To bring truth and light. In a word, to love. And our interpersonal communication skills are the vehicle by which that love is carried.
So how do we steward well the relationships we’ve been given?
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing some of that Speech Communication Class Interpersonal Communication content here at This Odd House. We’ll talk about subjects such as the following:
The Importance of Our Nonverbal Cues
Our Use of Language
Guidelines for Self-Disclosure
How to Be a Better Listener
The Art of Conversation, which I wrote on a little bit once before
I’ll share some resources that I’ve found helpful. And hopefully, you’ll join the conversation and tell us what works well for you.
If you haven’t already joined the This Odd House email list, now’s a great time to do so. That way you won’t miss a relational thing! Find the subscription form below.
I’ll see you back here next week for “lesson” number one!