It’s not that I want to avoid social interaction with people online…it’s that I need to control the time and amount of the input. I love talking to people and I love the online interaction of “iron sharpening iron” sometimes. The difficulty is that some people try to communicate with me through email, others through Facebook, some through Twitter, an increased amount through text messages, a few through phone calls and there are those still sending messages to me through the old Compass Point MySpace site. Last week I took stock of the amount of messages directed to me through social media and normal means (phones, email, etc.)…it was a little over 700 messages in just one week….and that wasn’t even the unsolicited stuff. There is no way on Earth I can possibly respond to all of that…and still spend quality time with God, be an attentive husband and lead a growing church.
The first step was creating a response priority…who gets a response first. It shakes out like this:
1. My wife and family
2. The Senior Management Team of Compass Point.
3. Close friends and mentors.
4. People that lead (non-SMT) or volunteer at Compass Point.
5. People that regularly attend Compass Point.
6. Church planters or leaders that I already have a relationship with.
That doesn’t mean I always ignore those not in the list above. If someone else in leadership at Compass Point can answer a question or tackle an issue I’ll forward it to them. However, in all honesty…about 65-70% of the incoming stuff just gets ignored or deleted because they don’t fit in the context above.
The next steps was to actual limit the amount of input from social networks. The following steps were taken:
1. Facebook – I am slowly deleting people that are not actual friends or family. That means that folks I met once at a conference or who went to kindergarten with me don’t make the cut. I also have stopped participating in live feed discussions. Finally Facebook is the lowest on my totem pole as far as answering direct messages. I only check my inbox once a week…and only answer about half of the messages there.
2. Twitter – Every week we have new people start coming to Compass Point that have a Twitter account…I can’t follow them all. I am in the process of unfollowing everyone but the SMT, ministry friends and those that motivate me as a leader. I use TweetDeck almost exclusively to keep up with Twitter postings. I may not be following you, but if #compasspoint or @compasspoint is in your Tweet then I know it. Also I answer mentions quite often…but rarely answer DMs.
3. Text Messages – Strictly for close friends and family…I don’t respond to anyone else.
4. Email – The absolute best way to communicate with me. I check my account twice a day and try to respond (or forward) legitimate emails within 24-hours.
5. MySpace – Killing it. The Compass Point account will be down this week.
I know this sounds kind of hard-nosed…but something had to give. I want to be a good pastor…but more than that I want to be a submissive follower of God and a loving husband. It’s more important that I be social with God and my wife…than social with the world.
So it begs the question…what is the best way to communicate with me and expect to get a response?
1. Call the church office (863-853-1300) Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST. If I’m not in a meeting or studying I’ll take the call.
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Under most circumstances I’ll answer it within 24-hours or forward it to a Compass Point leader that can better help you.
3. Come to Compass Point Church on Sundays. I’m usually hanging around the lobby of the YMCA after the service and would love to talk to you.