I’m wondering about that this morning, because it seems I’ve been spending most of my time lately going to meetings and answering email. I know it’s September, and a lot of things are starting up again at church after a long summer, but honestly I can’t get to the bottom of my inbox, and it’s partly because I have back-to-back meetings almost every day.
I got home from church at 9:00 last night, and as I trudged up the front steps I thought, “Shucks, I don’t think I did anything today to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia!” I wanted to be out there, engaged in hands-on mission, and instead I was in here, answering email, looking over meeting agendas, coordinating schedules…
So, this morning I’m trying to think of email and meetings in a different way. I’m trying to think of them as a means of communication, and communication as the way we connect with each other, share our thoughts, and deepen our relationships. That’s hard to do when you get an email that details your recent order from Amazon.com, but easy to do when you get one from a former member who is missing his old church.
And as far as meetings go, there are some things that are just too important to handle by email. You need that face-to-face contact to be sure that everything is communicated clearly. I told a young couple just last night (in a pre-marital counseling session on Skype) that only about seven percent of communication is in the words themselves: everything else comes through eye contact, tone of voice, body language, etc. That’s why, when you’re talking about something really important, you need to engage the full range of your communicative powers.
And often, in church, we are talking about something really important, but I often find myself yearning to do something, and not just talk about it. I think about Jesus, who spent a lot of his time teaching, preaching, and telling parables of the Kingdom, but who occasionally squatted down, spat on the ground, made some mud, and opened a blind man’s eyes (John 9).
I’m ready for some of that kind of ministry, and I don’t think I’m going to find it in my inbox. I think I’m going to have to get out there, where the need is, where the people are, where heaven comes to earth. So, if I don’t answer your email right away…
…you’ll know why.