3 Messages You Communicate When You Don’t Communicate

Some Starting Points:

√ “Failing to communicate” is relative. There are social understandings about how soon one should address an issue and/or respond to an individual.

√ Communication matters in ministry — in urban dictionary words, BIGly!

√ There are costs when you “fail to communicate” communicate in ministry! 

√ When you “fail to communicate” in ministry, you may think that you have not lost some social capital, but you have! Your personal social account has lost significant money, worth, or value.

√ When you “fail to communicate,” one reasonable assumption that individuals make is that you did not get the “message.” Or that you have been extremely busy and will get to it. Or today, that what was sent through an email, text, voice mail, DM, or the like, ended up floating around in the cyberworld.  

Other reasonable assumptions [1] are . . . . 

#1) That you don’t care: Another reasonable assumption that individuals make is that you have no interest in them and/or their concern.  

When people do not call you back, contact you in response to an inquiry, or reach out to you when it involves you and this-or-that area that involves you, you may well conclude that they do not care about what occupies your attention and concern.

#2) That you don’t know: Another reasonable assumption is that you know little to nothing about the question or issue being addressed. 

We are talking about “failing to communicate,” about times when seemingly someone should have communicated but does not. When that happens, the assumption may be that they did not, or do not know much about this-or-that situation. They must not know what happened. Had they known, indeed, they would have said something — called, reached out, or asked some questions.

#3) That you are defensive: When “failing to communicate,” another reasonable assumption is that you are purposefully avoiding any involvement. 

When people hunker down, hide, avoid, and even cloak their silence as “being like Jesus,” you might assume that they are personally involved in the situation and therefore are not responding.  It is a defensive and protective strategy. They feel or know that they are guilty. They hope it will all go away over time or realize that addressing the situation will reveal the truth of the matter.


Those in ministry leadership and/or pastoral positions can decry the fact that God’s people make assumptions [1], that others cannot know the actual reasons for this lack of communication — “You can’t read my heart.” Sadly, that becomes the disingenuous response that is communicated by those who “fail to communicate.”

While we can’t read hearts, our actions do show our hearts. Though imperfectly —  the reality is that over time, actions prove to be a very accurate indicator of the heart. [2]

You Do Speak Even When You Don’t Speak!

They have a dictionary name for that — non-verbal communication!

In ministry, it is usually heard very clearly and loudly!

 1. Please don’t take the position that no one has no right to assume something or anything from one’s actions. We must do that in all areas of life to socially and personally navigate. Whether the assumptions are founded, fair, legitimate, reasonable, crazy, or worse, we all operate on assumptions that come from the actions and behavior of others.

2. Anyone who is married and/or has raised children knows that reality and has also relied on it to navigate life and living.

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