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4 Ways to Escape the Availability Trap

The available pastor sits in an office at the church for the entire workweek. The accessible pastor is reachable within the community.

Available pastors are in one spot, on demand and at the command of others’ schedules. Accessible pastors have a strategy to be in many places, visible yet on their own schedule.

So how do you create a culture of accessibility without spiraling into one in which you must always be available? How do you manage the perceptions of followers who—rightly—desire your time? Below are a few tips I have found beneficial in my ministry. Feel free to add your own in the comment stream.

Give out your cell phone number.

Many leaders make the mistake of keeping their cell phone private. Unless you lead thousands of people (i.e. the CEO of a large corporation), then you should probably give followers your cell phone number. Get a plan with unlimited texting. Allow people to text you (and respond). It sounds scary, but it’s one of the best things I’ve done as a leader.

I’m easily accessible. It gives me the opportunity to respond quickly and shortly. It keeps me connected to the younger generation. By having my cell phone, people feel like I’m always accessible. (Almost) no one abuses the privilege. And you always reserve the right to block the numbers of consistent offenders.

Don’t hide in your fortress office.

If you are always in the cubicle, then people will come to expect you to be there. Introverts gravitate towards the safe box, but it’s a trap…the calm and quiet you seek is not to be found there. By always being in your office, you are inviting unnecessary noise into your world.