Posts Tagged: Ministry

That Vibrating Demon

What is the vibrating demon? Well for me it is my iPhone. Yes, I know a phone really is quite a necessity in ministry these days. Why? I’m not sure, considering millions of pastors did quality ministry without ever needing to answer a phone, and millions after them did quality ministry without ever needing to answer a text. Yet, here we are, they are for some reason a necessity of ministry; but still for me at times my iPhone is the vibrating demon.

I say vibrating demon because my phone is almost always silenced due to my career being in a constant cycle of meetings and so it vibrates to get my attention. And I am ashamed to say that I respond faster to my phone than I do my wife, my kids, maybe even God. Why? Because we are driven by the immediate and not by what is truly most important.

Well, the other day something happened and I have decided I will no longer let the vibrating demon control me.

I had about an hour free in my afternoon before needing to head out to our school for a meeting and I decided to run home quickly and check in on the family. When I arrived home my wife and kids were hanging out by the pool, don’t hate me because God has called me to Pastor in California 🙂 I sat down on one of the pool chairs, set my phone down on the end table by the chair, and began to talk to my wife. After several minutes of conversation my 4 1/2-year-old and 2 1/2-year-old boys came running over to me and started asking excitedly, “Daddy, Daddy will you swing us?” I told them to hold on while I finished talking to Christina (my beautiful wife) and then I said, “Ok.” My 2 1/2 year old loves to help me get up. Whether it is standing up from a chair or getting out of bed he loves to think he is pulling me to my feet. So he begins to tug on my arm and as I am getting up I reach down and grab my phone. Landon and I take about two steps towards the swing and then he stops me, and in a very serious voice he commands me, “Put that in your pocket Daddy! Put the phone in your pocket!” I looked at my wife and she gave me a look that communicated, “How cute” & “I’ve told you so” all in one. Then I looked back at Landon, he was serious we weren’t budging ’till I put the phone away. He hasn’t learned the pocket doesn’t stop the distraction, but in that moment I learned the phone needs to be turned off!

I would rather be fired or asked to leave my church because people don’t feel like they can get a hold of me than to ever have my boys think again that the vibrating demon is more important than them. If my 2 1/2-year-old has already figured out the distraction the vibrating demon is to his Dad, how is he going to feel as a teenager after years of that instrument of ministry and others taking away his Dad’s attention?

So tomorrow in the morning, when I am with my boys the phone, is going off…not just on vibrate…not just in the pocket…off!

Pastors (and all parents really) if you feel like your phone is a permanent extension of your hand due to calls, texts, twitter, email, Facebook,  your kids, and your wife feel it too, so turn it off!

There are enough demons out to get us and our families, don’t let the vibrating one that you have control over be one of them!

It’s Not My Right, It is My Privilege

So driving to my Coaching Network yesterday I was pondering the reality that I believe the time is coming when as a Seventh-day Adventist Minister will have to work for free…or at least only at the level my basic needs are provided for.  I can’t really lay out for you all the reasons I feel that day is coming, I just believe it is. 

Then during our Coaching Network during our Pressure Points time, one pastor discussed providing all his team with cell phones and paying for their bill.  There was immediate push back on this issue. The leaders of the Network and other sage folk in the Coaching group showed several ways and examples of how this then becomes an area of entitlement.  Where people think they “should” have their phone paid for by the church and become disgruntled if this “privilege”, which they have come to believe is their “right” is taken away or not available to them anymore.

That entire discussion and what I was thinking about on the way to the Network had me pondering on the way home from the Network, how we that work for the church or a religious organization need to be very careful about the condition of our hearts in regards to the “privileges” we have in working for the Kingdom of God. I believe too often our hearts may go astray and begin to see it as our “right” to have insurance, retirement, a salary, our phones paid for, assistance with schooling. None of these in fact our “rights” though, these are simply “privileges” and if they were all to leave us tomorrow if our hearts are in the right place it shouldn’t change at all the way we feel about doing ministry! 

This past year the pastors in my conference received a 3% pay cut.  Now no one likes to get a pay cut, but as I heard different discussion around the proverbial “water cooler” it made me wonder, “If this is how these folk feel about a 3 % cut, what is going to happen on the day we get a 100% cut?”

The question I believe all who work in ministry must ask ourselves is, “Would I still give all my life for ministry? Would I be broke for the sake of ministry if all the “privileges” were taken away? Do I work for the “privileges” or for the PRIVILEGE of being a full time servant of the Most High God?!” If we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing on the day we will no longer get a pay check, or our cell phones paid for, or insurance, or retirement, or school assistance, then I think it may be time for folk to find a new job!  The full time ministry is a LIFE CALLING, not a job!

Just a few thoughts! 

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