Interpersonal Leadership: Communication
“Biblical Texts and Practical Contexts”
by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® 7.3
Interpersonal Communication

This brief article seeks to provide a “thumbs up” support to all
the other articles on “exchanging meanings.” As we focus on person-to-person
and small group communication, it seems we must honestly address at least two
major components–and we have tried to do so:

  • “Does our communication express the teaching and tone of Holy Scripture?”
  • “Are we better prepared to apply communication to real situations
    of life and leadership?”

So, I am not going to review the other articles but merely offer a slice from
the whole study.

1. Expressing Biblical Teaching

Perhaps you’d like to conclude this series of articles by asking a
few questions about “exchanging personal meanings” by seeking
biblical responses:

  • What would Jesus do? (WWJD) “Do to others as
    you would have them do to you.”
    –Luke 6:31
  • What would Paul admonish? “When I was a child,
    I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
    When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
    –1 Cor.
  • How would James wrap it up? “My dear brothers,
    take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and
    slow to become angry, . . . We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never
    at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body
    in check.”
    –James 1:19; 3:2

2. Your Case Studies: “Meaning Exchange”

Case studies is one of the ways we learn from our own experiences and reflection.
As you move from biblical times to your contemporary life and leadership,
your final exam is to write a case study about “meaning exchange.”
Choose a “hot button” experience you have had or one you are preparing
for. Use the real situations expressed below as a possible starting point.
Select such a recent communication experience and write it out; be brief but
clear: What happened? What was the issue? Who was involved? What was your
role? Were you the sender or receiver/responder? What did you say, show, do
to carry your meaning to another person? How did they respond? What did you

3. Actual Interpersonal Communication Situations

Make your own list of situations in which you seek to “exchange personal
meaning.” The following were suggested from ministers in my conferences:

  • You read a passage of Scripture to a discouraged friend and gave its
  • Shared a testimony about your personal relationship to Christ.
  • Taught a class of adults about the biblical meaning of “sanctified.”
  • Showed a new employee how to set the alarm system.
  • Counseled a couple about their wedding and meaning of marriage.
  • Led the staff in its annual planning and training retreat.
  • Closed an agreement with a new vendor that supplies the church with regular
    printing jobs.
  • Convened a church planning council meeting to critique an architect’s
    building proposal.
  • Made a report presentation from your committee to the congregation for
    its approval.
  • Sought to contain or reduce the conflict level between two very articulate
    (ever quarrelsome) church committee chairpersons.


Now, go out with joy and expectancy to share messages and meanings about
Christ and His kingdom work; enrich your family and personal life; improve
the quality and satisfaction of your servant leadership.

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© 2006; hosted and copyrighted by
Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership