Like most pastors, I claim that the face-to-face meeting is the best way to do the ministry of the church, but you would never guess it by my work habits. Also like most pastors, I spend an enormous amount of time reading and composing e-mails.
I am driven not so much by my own schedule or preferences as by those of my church members. Many of them use e-mail all day long and expect the church to take advantage of the same means of communication. I may want to speak to them personally, but before I have a chance to do so the matter has been put online, and it usually has a rather extensive audience. In the time it would take to reach one another by phone, the matter has been resolved. So if I want to be in on the discussion, I had better be typing.
Lillian Daniel is senior pastor at First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a board member for Interfaith Worker Justice, and author of When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough (Jericho Books).