A simple way to boost your ministry productivity: silence your phone
Want to see an increase in productivity at your church? Want to be more effective in pastoring the people in your congregation?
Put down your phone.
As I type that, I’m throwing stones from inside a glass house.
When I first became a Christian, I stopped smoking cold turkey. At the time, I was smoking more than two packs a day (around 50 cigarettes). It’s the only thing I’ve ever done 50 times a day—until the iPhone came into my life. I check it far too frequently, often at the expense of a client, coworker or my family. So this year, I’m committing to putting down the phone, and I’m seeing real results.
It’s not that I’ve disconnected completely. One of our core values at Vanderbloemen is “ridiculous responsiveness.” While our responsiveness has been something that has set us apart, I’ve learned that it can be abused and detrimental to our focus and quality of work.
Studies show that even the act of having your phone out on the desk or in your pocket can hurt productivity. A person is 28 percent more likely to make an error on a work project after receiving a phone call and 23 percent more likely after receiving a text message. You’re also just as likely to break focus and make an error simply by getting an alert, even if you don’t answer the call or check the message.
It’s the break in focus that’s dangerous.
When you’re a pastor, most meetings deserve your full awareness. If you want to minister to your congregation’s needs in the most effective way possible, your full attention is needed.
I think of the story in Luke where Mary sits at Jesus’ feet while Martha is cooking, cleaning and checking the text she just got that has the details for tomorrow’s meeting. Jesus says Mary is the one who gets it right. Being fully present isn’t just a nice idea—it’s the most effective and powerful way of doing things.
Giving your staff and congregation your full attention as they talk about budget, scheduling, mission work and all the day-to-day workings of a church will keep you from missing any small details that could be crucial to big things happening.
Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden put it this way: “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
This issue hasn’t been viewed as a big deal up to this point, because people think they get the general idea of what’s going on in their life, despite their phones distracting them a little bit. While people do get the general idea, what I’ve come to realize is those details and little moments can be game changers in productivity, focus and overall effectiveness in ministry.
I’ll always find a way to respond to what must be responded to. The trick is knowing what’s a must, and what’s not.
Figure that out, recapture your focus and you’ll see your ministry effectiveness skyrocket.
William Vanderbloemen is the president and CEO of The Vanderbloemen Search Group.