This little tidbit of counsel may annoy many people, but it will serve a vastly greater number, including yourselves as worship leaders and pastors, the church you serve, and ultimately the Lord.
One of the most effective tools of the enemy is to use anything that would distract you from your focus of bringing glory to the Lord and serving His people as they come together for worship, prayer, fellowship, and the teaching of God’s Word at the weekend service.
Email is hands-down, one of the most destructive forms of communication that currently exists. It is good for delivering documents speedily, good for conveying simple facts, or setting appointments. It is horrible for discussing any matter of importance.
Within email or any form of text-based communication, there is no way to accurately and properly convey or guide inflection, attitude, or intent. Nor can you instantly see how your words are being received, and modify your delivery if they are not being received in the way that you intended. Humans already have issues with communicating properly when it’s live and in person. We already have a proclivity to read our own thoughts and feelings into what is being said, even when the person is standing there right in front of us. Even when we can see the look on their face, the mannerisms of their body language, when the conversation is intimate and happening live.
When you remove the instantaneous nature of conversation, you take away the tools required in order to properly convey the things that matter most in a difficult conversation: humility, love, compassion, kindness, gentleness. Hmm, those things sound familiar… where have we seen them mentioned before? Oh yes, that’s right – the Bible does instruct us in how to conduct ourselves with each other!
People get unusually bold over email. They say things they would never say to another in person, or rather, things they should never say to another in person. The enemy knows this, and I guarantee you, if you get in the habit of checking your email right before a worship service, he’s going to use someone who struggles with this to hit you with the worst possible nasty communiqué right before you are expected to lead God’s people into God’s presence for God’s purposes.
If you set yourself up for receiving it, you’re opening the door to get that email that will completely derail all your prayer, planning, and preparation, and put you in a horrible frame of mind that will distract you from effectively ushering others into worship.
So don’t do it. Let people know that you go “dark” on the weekends, put your away message up, and wait until after the weekend is over to look at the emails that arrive.
Doing this will allow you to focus on the more important aspects of your ministry: being with people as you all seek the Lord together. In person. Live. Where it counts.
Make it count. Go electronically dark, and go light up a room by being present instead!
Brendan Prout is a pastor at Community Bible Church in San Diego, CA, where he oversees worship and outreach. He has served in worship ministry leadership for over 20 years and focuses on training and raising others to do the work of ministry they are called to.