How strange that the more communication tools we have, the less we communicate, at least in meaningful ways. How many cowards hide behind their keyboards and lash out at others instead of speaking face-to-face? If “the pen is mightier than the sword,” then is “the keyboard mightier than the pen?”
As Elder John wraps up his second pastoral letter, though brief, he expresses a deep desire to connect, not through Facebook, not even with pen and ink but with a purposeful face-to-face personal engagement. I’ve written elsewhere about “The Pastor of Oz,” the leader who hides behind the pulpit and wields his sermons at the flock rather than encounter them in their homes or in his office as a caring undershepherd.
“I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
Although he penned only thirteen verses, more pastoral care brewed in his heart awaiting for a future opportunity to dispense it. He cared, really cared for this flock and felt further writing would not be the best means of communication. He needed to sit down in person, and talk in order to bring the joy level in the community to a new level.
Emails are not the best way to deal with issues between people. People will craft intensive, scathing rebukes of others, and feel the issue at hand is settled. It is no easy task to look a person directly in the eyes and say, “Brother/sister…..we need to talk.”
John’s simple notation, fueled out of his deep pastoral care, has implications for 21st century ministry. It’s time for more visits and face-to-face meetings. Put down the cell phone, unplug the keyboard, leave your office and meet up in person if you want to increase the ‘joy’ level in your leadership.