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4 Ways to Escape the Availability Trap

Be active in social media.

Available leaders have limited ways in which people can contact them. Accessible leaders have multiple options for communication.

Social media facilitates accessibility in two ways. First, it allows people to interact with you apart from traditional lines of communication. Followers post encouragement on your Facebook wall, and they leave messages about how a sermon helped.

Second, it gives people a window into your life. Believe it or not, people are nosy. They like to know what their leaders are doing. You will prevent many questions (and quell rumors) simply by creating an online journal of your activities. Social media allows me to control—to some degree—how people perceive my actions.

Embrace your public image.

Pastors are public figures. If you don’t want to live in a fishbowl and under a microscope, then don’t become a pastor. You must embrace the fact that you are a figurehead—in your church and in your community.

Be visible. The more visible you are, the more you are accessible, and the less you have to be available. Even if you have to set aside 1-2 hours a week just to walk around, make sure you are interacting with people.

For example, our church is located in a downtown area. I often walk around and step into local stores. On campus, I love jumping into all the groups that meet throughout the week, even if it just means popping your head into a room and waving to everyone. Accessible pastors embrace their public image and use it to their advantage.

Be available to those who need you most: your family, mentees, the hurting, key leaders, and your direct reports. Availability to all, however, is a trap. But for everyone else in your flock, you must be accessible to them.