Body life, as seen in the “one another commands” of Scripture, involves a mutual, reciprocal exchange among members. So, when we look for communication guided by Body Life commands, it must be two-way. When leaders merely “tell” people what they are doing, they aren’t communicating in accordance with Body Life commands.
Even the Greek word for fellowship, koinonia, suggests that back and forth exchange, intercourse, a joint participation.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 Jn. 1:7)
What we have in common in the Lord makes such communion possible. It begins with personal fellowship with the Lord, walking in His light, and spills out into our relationships with one another. Communication with one another that emanates from walking in the light, will reflect characteristics of the One who is the Light.
Communication Guided by Body Life is Honest
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Col. 3:9-10)
When we, as a Body, head in the direction of unity and spiritual maturity, “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”, we no longer fall for “deceitful scheming” and neither are we deceitful in our communication with one another. Rather, we speak the truth (Eph. 4:15).
This means that as church leaders, we don’t manipulate or flatter people with our words to get them to do our bidding. We don’t tell them what we think they want to hear when it lacks truth.
Communication Guided by Body Life is Loving
love one another (Rom. 13:8)
Be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph. 4:32)
As noted, we must be honest with one another but speaking the truth must be done in love (Eph. 4:15). Even when we must admonish one another (Col. 3:16), we do it in ways that build up, not tear down the person.
Church leaders must guard against coming across as a Jekyll and Hyde, one moment kind and compassionate and the next condemning and condescending. Work at communicating with both grace AND truth. Don’t lay the one aside for the other.
Communication Guided by Body Life is Respectful
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Rom. 12:10)
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Rom. 15:7)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Eph. 4:32)
Any kind of talk that puts people down or displays a lack of regard for someone has no place in the Body. Everyone in the Body has value, no matter who they are, and all should be treated with dignity (1 Cor. 12:20-27).
Church leaders may find some people who appear unlovable, hard to get along with or understand. That’s no excuse for disrespectful communication with them, especially when you view the standard for accepting one another “just as Christ accepted you” (Rom. 15:7).
When leaders approach communication as described above, they provide an example for the remainder of the Body (1 Pet. 5:2-3). A Church that communicates with one another this way shines as a light for the world around them, reflecting the One who is the Light of the world.