I met with a young man in our church recently. I love his heart. I baptized him a few months ago and have taken a personal interest in him. I see such kindness in him, that I asked him to serve in our children’s ministry. He was delighted.
After we talked about the opportunity, he said he filled out a card asking to serve in our preschool ministry a year ago and never heard anything. He assumed we weren’t interested in him. I was devastated. Hopefully, he simply fell through the cracks of our system, but this type of thing frustrates me more than just about anything.
Responsiveness is paramount in ministry and leadership. Whether it’s an email, a phone call, or Facebook message, most people expect some sort of response. I realize busyness makes this difficult, but it’s an important enough issue to address. I encourage leaders to figure out a process that allows for diligent responsiveness.
Here are 3 problems with unresponsiveness:
It makes a person feel unappreciated – When someone doesn’t get a response back, the person feels they aren’t important enough. They wonder what they’ve done wrong or why they aren’t good enough.
It makes a person feel unloved – Like it or not, unresponsiveness is translated, especially in the church setting, as an indicator of love. If you don’t respond, you must not love them very much.
It makes a person mistrust you or the organization – People will only tolerate unresponsiveness a few times. Want to wreck an organization’s credibility? Become known as unresponsiveness.
So what do you do about it?
- Make responsiveness an extremely high value in the organization.
- Leaders should lead by example.
- Answer all emails and return calls promptly, even if you don’t have an answer yet.
- Have a system is in place to respond to all queries.
- Never ignore a request.
Even in the best environments, situations like the example above will happen. People will feel they’ve not been listened to, that no one cares, or that they are unloved. They’ll take it personal enough to leave the organization.
The more you can do to avoid it the better you will build an atmosphere of genuine trust.
How does it make you feel when someone doesn’t respond to an inquiry?