As a pastor, I have prided myself on my vulnerability and accessibility. It has always been my heart that you see me for who I am and that any person can access me whenever they are in need. Facebook/Messenger/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat have been excellent tools to give me that flexibility. I can live online to show you that the life I live matches the sermon I preach.
In recent weeks, I have experienced the drain of ministry. I am tired. My accessibility has become my vulnerability. Here is the truth. I have not had a true day off in over 3 months. In ministry there is always a need to minister to, a person to call, a text to respond to, an event to attend, and social media to respond to. This has left me interrupting my time with God to respond to texts and messages at 6:00am in the morning and lying in bed at night responding to emails.
I have left the messenger app and my phone alert on at night so that I can respond if an emergency arises. What I have noticed is that I am awakened recently not by emergencies but texts and messages late at night which should be saved till office hours the next day.
Social media is hurting my life with my family. I am not present with my kids, not available for my wife, and my mood is radically altered daily when the ding of my phone interrupts my dinner/bedtime/prayer time and life.
A pastor needs to be accessible, but he does not need to be this accessible.
Not only this, but I feel the pull of burnout growing closer and closer as I cannot keep up the pace of life I am keeping.
I need your help. Here is my request. 1. If your need can be answered by one of the fine secretaries in our office during business hours, even though it is easier to simply text me for an instant response, please contact them (or me) during office hours at the church. 2. Though I appreciate the many articles and posts that are sent to me, these clog up my phone, keeping me from seeing the real needs of people. I want to be able to respond to folks in real emergencies, and a cluttered phone keeps me from responding. 3. Unless it is a real emergency, please refrain from contacting me (or any staff member) before 9 in the morning and after 9 at night. I struggle with insomnia, and a ding at 11 at night might wake me up for the rest of the night. 4. For any church related questions, if they are not emergencies, please wait till office hours. 5. Friday and Saturdays are days our staff takes off to be with our families. We need down time.
Each of our ministers has expressed the same exhaustion lately to me. We LOVE our church but need a break from the business of the church. We want to minister to members in a time of need. If there is an emergency, please contact us.
For the next month, I am stepping away from all social media. I need to for my own soul and family. I need your help to recharge. I love my family at FBC Vidalia. It is a privilege to serve them and walk through life with them. Thank you. `