Face Time -- A Guest Post by the Righteous Jan Edmiston

imgres Jan Edmiston is the 'curator' of A Church for Starving Artists -- which is a must-read if you are passionate about ministry and church transformation -- and a great friend. We decided to do a blog swap this week. That's like a pulpit swap, but in our pajamas. My post is here. Take it away Jan!


Note:  MaryAnn and I first met as pastors in National Capital Presbytery, quickly meeting regularly in a group we called Lex Girls.  Later we were in an excellent writing group together.  I consider her a hero and treasured friend.  -Jan Edmiston (Aww thanks! I'll always be grateful to the Lex Girls because I walked in to the first meeting, VERY new in ordained ministry and in the presbytery and feeling unsure of myself. Within minutes one of our members had shown us her skydiving video and another had dropped a choice expletive, and I thought, "These are my people." -MA)

I broke my nose Wednesday, so my mind’s been on Face Time – not just in terms of the temporary new look on my own face.  Ministry involves using more than using a phone and computer.  We who do professional ministry are pastorally and institutionally required to do lots of Face Time with our people.  Even Skype falls short.

Actually my favorite part of ministry is the Face Time.  I love talking face to face with pre-inquirers pondering professional ministry. I enjoy the face time with elders trying to be faithful as they look for fresh ways to expand their ministry.  Face time with pastors excited about a new call is like dessert.

What’s also true is that Face Time is:

1) elusive because the administrative tasks overtake our lives

2) emotionally draining because that’s what it means to be compassionate.

We need to pace ourselves.

If you’ve ever been at the hospital bedside of your own child or parent or spouse, you know that you wouldn’t be anywhere else but holding that beloved person’s hand.  But it wipes you out.

People in pastoral ministry – pastors, deacons, Stephen Ministers, elders – do this with multiple families at the same time.

If you’ve ever had a vision for What the Church Could Be, you know that you wouldn’t do anything else, but shifting a church culture or starting something totally new can be exhausting.

People in church development and re-development – church planters, core leaders – know that this is relentless work.

Real Life Ministry demands some serious Face Time in which we must be focused wholly on other people.  To avoid utter depletion, we need to figure out how in the world we can cling to and practice our Sabbath.  You could start by reading this book.  And I’m not just saying this because I’m guest blogging on her site. (Heh. -MA)

It’s a holy thing when we pace ourselves. My hope is that my medically required Ice-Bag-On-My-Face Time will also prove to be a holy thing.

How is the Administrivia-Face Time balance going in your life?