I am so thankful for the tools I get to use in the ministry. I remember the good old days they really weren’t that good in the tool department. Since I’ve been ministering to kids a lot has changed with technology. When I started photocopiers had not yet been invented. I made publications with individual press on letters, an exacto knife, and rubber cement and then ran then off on a mimeograph machine. I now use three computers (one laptop for church and one laptop and a iMac for JWM), an ipad2, and an iPhone, every single day. I have multiple backups and I also use the cloud as well as drop box. I have an AT&T media package and also a Verizon mifi so I have both major networks. On top of that I tweet, I text, I Facebook, I use CM Connect, I have 11 email accounts, and I also use instagram. (And yes I have my own iPhone and iPad app be sure and download it free in the iPhone app store.)
I’ll never forget the day I got my first computer. It was a Commodore 64. I remember thinking this is amazing; I’ll never need anything more than this. At first it seemed like a time waster, entering all the names and info to create a database. Then it happen I hit command S and was able to sort that data base just how I needed it and I’ve been hooked ever since. I am proud to say I have never owned a PC and went straight from the Commodore 64 to the Mac. I can’t imagine doing ministry these days without all this technology. Not only has it changed a lot it’s still changing and I hope it will continue to get better and more powerful and useful in the future. But how do you keep these tools of the trade from turning into toys and distractions and time wasters?
Here are the first five of ten things I do to keep the electronic tools I use to stay a blessing and not a curse...
1. Turn off all sound notifications for texts, emails, tweets and other social media apps and set an appointment to check your devises. During work I set a time three times a day. I’ve found not hearing the notifications help me to stay on task. Even with the visual notifications of Mountain Lion I can ignore those better than the beeps, dings and bells and keep working. If it’s time sensitive I have them call me and tell me they sent what I’m waiting on.
2. I do not have non-work email accounts on my work devises. I am very thankful that I have the privilege of being bi-vocational (both vocations just happen to be ministry related) I never want the church that I serve to feel they are not getting my best. I don’t work on Jim Wideman Ministries stuff during my office hours at the church. (I wrote this article at 8:01PM not AM) Not having personal or JWM email accounts on my church machines keeps me focused. I also only post on church Facebook and twitter accounts during office hours.
3. I turn my cell phone on silent went I’m in my office and use my office phone for all calls. (I make personal calls only on my cell phone when I’m on break or at lunch.) I know I’m weird but I still have a home phone number. I put my cell phone on a charger when I’m home and do not use it except when I’m mobile or it’s an emergency.
4. While we’re talking about calls here’s a great personal policy to adapt I try to limit all business calls to three to five minutes unless it’s a phone appointment and I schedule those from fifteen to thirty minutes. I learned this trick from a pay phone I saw years ago that had a sign on it that said: Business Phone-please limit calls to three minutes. I remember thinking, “The phone on my desk is a business phone.” It’s been a helpful practice to follow.
5. Maybe because it’s my age or the fact that I am a workaholic but I do not have any games on my ministry devices except games I can use in programing a service. I know what you are thinking…Jim you don’t have small children, your right but I have a grandbaby and when he gets old enough to need to be entertained I’ll give him his own devises. But just like I think it’s important to take back some of the time we have to minister to our family I also think we need to return to rocking it old school and talk in the morning, at night, when we’re at the house and when we go somewhere.
More to come...